By Michael Stein, Co-Chair, Civic Association Healthcare Committee

Long gone are the days when people used to quip that the airport was the best place to go for medical treatment in the Town of Palm Beach. Today, the community offers quality healthcare services that will soon include greater help for victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

AED Civic AssociationThe Town of Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Department, along with the help of the Palm Beach Civic Association and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, are developing a plan to encourage local businesses, organizations, and residents to buy Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), to be available on site to respond to cardiac emergencies in their places of business and homes.  Although paramedics usually arrive in less than five minutes, earlier use of an AED will save lives.

According to the American Heart Association, SCA is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, striking more than 300,000 people each year.  Only about five percent of its victims survive. Defibrillation – using electrical current from an AED to restore heart rhythms – is most effective when administered within the first four minutes of cardiac arrest.  Fire-Rescue reports that they respond to approximately 25 cardiac arrests each year. AED’s will “buy time” for the victim until Fire-Rescue arrives.


“If an AED is used within the first minute of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Darrel Donatto, Deputy Chief of Palm Beach Fire-Rescue, “there is a 90% chance of a good outcome.  Within two minutes, an 80% chance, and so on.  Time is really of the essence.”

Fire-Rescue has a program to register all AED’s in town, train users, and keep track of battery and pad replacement.  They will replace the owner purchased pads and batteries, and retrain while they’re there.

Consumer friendly AEDs range in price from $1,200 - $2,800 and are available. Check with your doctor or pharmacist and purchase one today. 

Then contact Town of Palm Beach Fire-Rescue to register your AED: 561-838-5420