Public Access Defibrillators increase chances of surviving cardiac arrest

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christian Soto
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The Public Access Defibrillator program aims to increase chances of survival.

“The overall goal of PAD is to get after the leading cause of death in America, and to do that, we want to decrease the amount of time it takes to help a victim of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Lt. Col. Mark Klohr, the deputy commander of the 71st Mission Support Group at Vance Air Force Base.

“For every minute you can start CPR or have access to a defibrillator, increases the chances of survival by seven to 10 percent,” said Klohr, who is Vance’s PAD program coordinator. He said the average medical response time on base is two minutes, 36 seconds.

“If we had a defibrillator in close proximity to an incident, you can get it started a minute and half earlier, which results in a greater chance of survival,” said Klohr. “What this program ultimately provides is making Vance a safer place to live and work.”

The PAD program is a result of a 2016 audit which stated, “Wing officials did not fully prepare personnel to respond to sudden cardiac arrest.”

The audit also revealed 13 of 17 Automated External Defibrillators had zero annual mock exercises along with AEDs not being strategically placed across the base, leaving 85 percent of facilities without coverage.

“We want to cut through the bureaucracy in this program,” said Klohr. For the longevity of the program, Klohr wants to build off the progress made in the past six years and maintain a sustainable and responsive program.

“I told my team during training, the success of what we have done today is not going to be measured by wing commander approval,” said Klohr. “It is really going to be measured by the effectiveness of the program five years from now. Essentially, we want the base to be fully aware of the PAD program.”

Currently, Vance has a total of 17 AED devices set up around the base. Twenty more are scheduled for installation.

“Don’t be afraid to use an AED during a life-threatening situation,” said Paige Terry, a registered nurse at the 71st Medical Group. “The AED essentially thinks for you in dire situations. Once the pads are on the patient, the machine analyzes their heartbeat, and will tell you if a shock is needed. If it is, the machine tells you what to do at that moment.”

The PAD program will be fully effective when all 37 AEDs are up and running. That is projected for completion in the next two months.