News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 08/19/2013
Subject :

Portable Defibrillators To Be Deployed Throughout City
Contact : Ian Hagerman, Senior Management Analyst    650-329-2346
Palo Alto, CA – Beginning later this month, the City will roll out 52 Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs in police patrol vehicles and City facilities that can significantly increase the chances of survival from a sudden cardiac arrest. The average response time for Palo Alto first responders is 5 to 6 minutes once 911 is called. According to the Red Cross, for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10 percent. 

"Every minute counts when somebody has a sudden heart attack and the deployment of AEDs across the City will ensure that Palo Alto citizens and visitors will have a higher chance of early defibrillation and survival," said City Fire Chief Eric Nickel. 

Last April, the City Council approved spending $92,500 to purchase 37 AED units, but through a competitive bid process, the City was able to acquire a total of 52 units with an expanded roll out to additional community and recreation facilities. Council will hear an information report and see a demonstration of the AED units at their meeting tonight. 

Initially, the units will be installed in eight patrol cars, and at locations that will include libraries, community centers, City Hall, parks, the golf course, soccer fields and other high occupancy City facilities. The inclusion of AEDs on police vehicles provides an additional level of response since officers frequently are the first to arrive on scene of sudden cardiac arrests, and will be able to start early defibrillation until paramedics arrive. 

An AED is a portable electronic device that is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during a sudden cardiac arrest and is easy to operate for somebody with no medical background. Nearly 60 percent of all cardiac arrests are witnessed by others, and so if an AED is nearby, chances are improved that a patient will receive timely defibrillation therapy. 

The City is also partnering with key community groups including Racing Hearts that are focused on community safety and preparedness to help create awareness of the AED availability. In addition, the Fire Department will conduct several AED training sessions for City staff in the next few months to coincide with the AED deployment. Finally, early next year, the City's Public Safety Department plans to participate in a project by PulsePoint  that will be able to notify participating individuals on their smartphones of nearby cardiac emergencies and the location of the nearest AED unit.