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qwazse

AEDs and new tech first aid additions

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There was some discussion in another thread about portable AEDs only 2.5 pounds in weight. However, I'm not sure if that includes a dry blanket or other nonconducting insulation. (Lots of places around here would require some distance to "clear".)

Of course backpackers tend to be miserly in with weight. So, chances are it won't be carried unless the group is large enough for load balancing.

Furthermore, making sure that the person with that component of the first aid kit is near the person who will need it is a non-trivial challenge.

Secondly, maintenance and recertification procedures need to be in place. Field tested gear is a significant requirement. Which runs counter to bottom dollar cost constraints.

Finally, every piece of gear is assessed for dual use. AEDs are specialty equipment. Is there any other emergency situation when the electronics in the AED might prove useful? Hikers favor one-time-use tools that cover a range of scenarios.

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@@qwazse, I've talked with a couple of folks that have carried AED's.   Some on a temporary basis to address a unit member who was awaiting a permanent install, others because members had a history.  

 

I think you have most of the key points that need to be addressed.    They are not multi-purpose devices, they are medical devices built for solving a particular problem that kills around 325,000 folks a year.  If you have folks in a high risk category then it makes a lot of sense to get them to a hospital with a chance of survival.      

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@@RichardB, thanks for stirring the coals!

 

In some of our preferred super-activity locations, extraction times are >4 hours. Combined with weather and fire risks, they can take up to 24 hrs.

 

That said, delivery of a medic to a known location can happen relatively quick, weather permitting.

 

An AED that doubles as a GPS/Signal beacon upon activation might get some traction among the back-country market. Emergency 2-way communication would be gravy. Maybe not voice, but texting extraction way-points or shelter-in-place instructions could turn it into just enough of a multi-tool that hiking clubs would consider it.

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Couple more thoughts on some published material.  

 

http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/06/03/on-national-cpr-and-aed-awareness-week-share-your-lifesaving-story/  includes a link to a story about Jose, his story could be an example of several folks.  He is one active scouter.   

 

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/680-056_Cardiac.pdf is one of the published incident reviews.    

 

If you have ideas, you might pitch them to a manufacturer, Heartsine is the lightweight of the manufacturers.    Not sure it would be an option in the US market due to regulation and oversight.   

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As a CPR/AED instructor for over 2 decades, the sad reality is that an AED alone without rapid EMS response and high quality immediate medical follow up is pretty much useless. People that suffer from cardiac arrest may be revived with an AED but they don't tend to survive without proper medical care. There are a very tiny percentage folks that have arrhythmias that an AED can convert and they will be OK, but those folks are few and far between and usually as Richard B says awaiting an implant.

 

Most people that suffer from cardiac arrest have underlying heart and vascular disease that must be addressed quickly to insure survival. Proper medical screening before activities and discussions with medical providers before activities is a more prudent and cost effective management of cardiac arrest risk reduction. That is in part why BSA requires yearly health form updates for all long term campers. It should also be mandatory for all "high adventure" troop level activities too. But enforcement would be an issue. GSUSA requires a medical provider signed health form for all activities occurring more than 4 hours from home, all activities where medical assistance is more than an hour away, and all international travel. We actually have to turn in copies of the signed health forms in order to get their equivalent of a tour permit and insurance.

 

IMHO, anyone with such a high risk of cardiac arrest that the unit is considering taking an AED with them to the back country shouldn't be going on that outing. While cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time and anywhere, the risks can be mitigated of that happening. Proper training, proper medical pre-event evaluation, proper trip planning and execution. Not everyone (youth or adult) is qualified for every outing -be it physically, psychologically, financially. Have we lost all common sense? If you get winded and dizzy climbing the steps at home, do you really belong on a 5 day backpack trip in the Colorado Rockies? I don't need to workout, just bring an AED and all will be OK.

 

Final thoughts, AEDs are effective medical devices that are PART of a cardiac chain of survival. Quick effective CPR, early AED use, rapid EMS response and proper high quality medical follow up. Take away a link and the chain will fall apart. If you want to invest in an AED, get one for your meeting place and have it accessible to all that use the building. Invest in one for your favorite camping area, again available at all times for those that us the area. Remember that pads are only good for 2 years and replacements can be $100+. Batteries are only good for 5 years. If the AED is exposed to elements (stored outside in a box) it will require pad and battery updates more often. The units by law require a monthly maintenance log be kept and you must have a medical overseer for your unit (usually set up through your fire department). Training is needed to use one, although they are pretty much idiot proof.

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Really great points, @@bsaggcmom.

 

This isn't about the guy who huffs and puffs up the steps. Okay, maybe it is a little. These incidents are frequent enough, even in adults vetted for thier HA base. But that guy or gal might not be in our troop. We might come across him/her on the trail.

 

This is about equipping scouts with the gear that, when the Bad Day dawns, they won't doubt that they will have had everything that can be carried to forestall death.

 

The tech might not be ready for us, yet. But no harm pushing it there.

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