Logan Solano’s training kicked in on May 15 when a woman collapsed at a Sun Prairie health club and stopped breathing.
Solano, an employee at Anytime Fitness, took control of the situation and after barely feeling the women’s pulse, grabbed an AED and gave her one shock before EMS and police arrived.
Credited with helping to save the woman’s life, Solano was glad that he was there to assist.
“There really are no words to describe it,” he said. “I am super happy that I was able to help and that she is still here today.”
It’s not likely that people notice an AED at their local gym, grocery store, library and church but in a sudden cardiac arrest, it saves lives
Sun Prairie EMS Chief Brian Goff estimates that survival rates are around 10-11 percent for people who have a non-traumatic sudden cardiac arrest in Sun Prairie. If more AEDs were out in the community, sudden cardiac arrest deaths rates could be lowered, Goff said.
An AED analyzes a person’s heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to re-establish an effective rhythm.
Goff said the seconds and minutes after sudden cardiac arrests are critical.
“Statistically the odds are against you when you have a sudden cardiac arrest, so the faster you can get that shock, the better it is to turn that situation around,” Goff said.
Although EMS and police can arrive in minutes, an AED gives life-saving skills to people who might be right next to the patient, Goff said.
Solano, who saved the woman at Anytime Fitness, was trained to use an AED,—at his job and through certification in MATC’s Fire and EMS training program. Solano, who will soon start as a part-time Fitchburg firefighter, said that gave him the confidence to react in an emergency.
“I assessed the situation to see what was happening and took control — that is where my training came into place,” he said. “I was a little nervous but I knew what I needed to do.”
But Goff emphasized that AED training isn’t required.
“It is simple enough that a child could do it,” he said. “When you turn it on it talks you through it, all you have to do is follow the directions.”
Also, 911 dispatchers can walk you through using the device, and how to initialize CPR, if necessary.
Wisconsin’s Good Samaritan laws protect citizens who come to the aid of those in a medical emergency.
“The law encourages good Samaritans to help and gives them some sense of comfort that if the person is unable to survive the incident, the person who helped would be protected from liability,” Goff said.
PulsePoint — a mobile phone app that has been out for more than four years in Dane County — goes one step further, recruiting CPR and AED-trained citizens and off-duty public safety employees to respond to emergency situations before EMS and police arrive.
In Dane County there are more than 20,000 PulsePoint users — high statistics when compared with other similar-sized counties, Goff said.
Users download the free app and then get alerts when their help is needed—at public events, grocery stores, shops, and other venues.
“If you are at Walmart in the garden section and there is an emergency going on in the women’s clothing section, you can be there in a matter of moments,” Goff said. “You just need to know it’s happening and that is what PulsePoint does.”
PulsePoint also helps EMS inventory AEDs out in the community. That’s essential to 911 dispatchers to alert callers to where they can find the life-saving devices.
Goff would like to see more AEDs out in the community. The devices cost between $1,500-$2,000 but he said when it comes to saving a life, that is a nominal fee.
“When you look at the front end cost, the price of an AED can be a little daunting, but when an emergency happens price wouldn’t have been a concern,” the EMS chief said.
Corporations such as Firehouse Subs and others offer funding for AED purchases.
With sudden cardiac arrests the leading cause of death of people over age 40, the National Safety Council estimates that AEDs save 40,000 lives each year. Goff said the key is getting more equipment available in the city for people to use.
“It is critical the emphasis be placed on the public. This is not something that the city government can do, it is not something that EMS can do alone, it truly is a collaborative effort,” Goff said. “If we spread AEDs through the community we would see sudden cardiac arrest survival rates increase.”