KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- Sudden cardiac arrest can strike without warning and can happen anywhere, anytime. CPR is important, but it is only a temporary measure that helps maintain blood flow to the brain.
Defibrillation, a lifesaving pulse of electricity, is the only treatment that must be delivered quickly to restore the heart's normal rhythm.
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay will soon be the home to 13 new automated external defibrillators through the Public Access AED Program making early defibrillation immediately available during cardiac emergencies. The program is to ensure that the AEDs are strategically placed, staff members are properly trained in their use and appropriate inspections and maintenance are performed on the devices.
"The ones that will be installed at Kings Bay are fully automatic," Capt. Tom Middleton of Kings Bay's Fire and Emergency Services said. "All of the purchased AEDs are compatible with each other. They are also compatible with other AEDs in town, including the hospital."
It's important because the pads that go with the AEDs are not coming off, said Middleton. Without compatibility with the surrounding community and the hospital, they will have to try and pull the pads off and start over again. We can't afford that to happen when it's cardiac arrest.
"It's important to have compatibility with other nearby AEDs," Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Daniel Freeman said. "Those few seconds can make a difference between life and death."
Based on funding, the defibrillators will be put in the buildings with a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest incidents. These areas include child care, youth center, exchange, bowling alley, base gym, commissary, galley, Trident Training Facility and its fire trainer, Trident Refit Facility's Refit Industrial Building, the dry dock and the hull shop. By FY15, five additional AEDs will be placed at the golf course, chapel and port operations.
"We only have so much funding, and we put that money where we felt that it was best served," Middleton said.
The AEDs are safe, effective and designed for anyone to use with very little training. After turning on the device and applying self-adhesive pads to the victim's chest, the AED will speak to the user throughout the rescue process, providing step-by-step instructions. The effectiveness of the program relies on having trained employees to use the AED in the event of an emergency.
"There's going to be a learning curve here," Middleton said. "It's going to be a learn-as-we-go. There's going to be a lot of people who will require CPR training, and we will accommodate it the best way we can."
There's always going to be a risk of a medical emergency like cardiac arrest, Freeman said. Having AEDs in the various buildings around Kings Bay will greatly benefit the employees. Not only will they have knowledge about AEDs, but they can feel confident that they have more of a chance surviving sudden cardiac arrest.
Many cardiac arrest victims do not survive if the AED shock is delayed more than five minutes. By ensuring widespread public access to AEDs, combined with training, maintenance and coordination with local Emergency Medical Services, the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest episodes should improve.
The program to be up and running within six to eight weeks Middleton said.
For more news from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., visit www.navy.mil/local/subasekb/.