PAD program revamped with ending of COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Troy Frazer, 482d Medical Squadron, Public Access Defibrillator Program Coordinator
  • 482d Fighter Wing

Recent COVID 19 Pandemic events have highlighted the importance of the availability and access of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) trained responders. 

Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to individuals suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. Johns Hopkins University conducted a study, which indicated when individuals, trained in CPR and equipped to utilize automated external defibrillators, act before emergency medical system personnel arrived, there were increased victim survival rates. 

An AED is a computerized medical device capable of checking an unresponsive person's heart rhythm and determining if that rhythm requires a shock. An AED is considered a public access defibrillator (PAD) when it is made available for public for use in a non-medical facility. Public access does not mean that any member of the public should use an AED; only trained individuals should do so. 

Within the 482d Fighter Wing, numerous people are designated as targeted responders. These trained individuals have authorization to use the on-base AEDs in an attempt to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of first-responder emergency personnel. 

These targeted responders are part of a PAD program, which trains its members to recognize emergencies, activate emergency medical services and provide CPR or defibrillation. These are the most important steps anyone can take when faced with a sudden emergency. During a cardiac arrest, time is precious; waiting on an ambulance to arrive in order to begin to use an AED will not contribute to the survival advantage of the victim. That is why CPR and AED training provided by PAD programs is of the utmost importance. 

The following are some frequently asked questions about CPR and AEDs.

Can anyone purchase an AED?

No, units should first have a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment performed to determine the need for a PAD program. All AEDs must be procured through the 482d Medical Squadron by contacting the 482d MDS PAD program coordinator and requesting approval to purchase an AED. AEDs will be purchased with the requesting unit's funds. Units that purchase, maintain and utilize unapproved AEDs may not be protected from litigation. 

Who has the authority to approve the purchases of AEDs?

The 482d MDS has the responsibility to ensure all designated responders are properly trained and the AED is properly maintained. The PAD program coordinator will assist units in the establishment, development and maintenance of an emergency response plan for their PAD programs.

Who is responsible for the AEDs in the unit?

Unit commanders must appoint, in writing, a site program coordinator and targeted responders. The site program coordinator and targeted responders should be trained to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, to know when to activate the emergency medical services system and to know how to perform CPR. The site coordinators will be responsible for their PAD programs' AEDs and all associated equipment required to maintain their programs. Specific instructions and guidelines must be followed to ensure the proper use, maintenance and safety. MDS will have quality oversight of the program on behalf of the Wing Commander. MDS will also provide instructions on the governing roles and responsibilities of the PAD program and its AEDs. 

How much does an AED cost?

The price of an AED varies by make and model. On average, AEDs cost between $2,000 and $3,000 each. The start-up of a PAD program can cost up to $3,500. Units are required to fund the start-up and ongoing costs to maintain their individual PAD programs. A particular AED model has been designated for use at Homestead Air Reserve Base.

What steps should a unit take to buy an AED?

Procurement of all PAD program AEDs must be approved by the 482d MDS through its equipment review authorization activity meeting. The Medical Logistics Flight will provide the AED model and type, as well as ensure the procuring unit is aware of all procedures to purchase and maintain the AED along with the associated supplies and equipment. When AEDs are placed in a facility, those units, including mission partners and other tenant units, must adhere to the 482d MDS PAD program instructions. 

Where are current PAD AEDs located on base?

Currently, there are nine PAD program AEDs at HARB to include AEDs located at the Base Exchange, Falcon's Nest Club, Sam Johnson Fitness Center and Blazin' Beanz. The MDS is working on deploying an additional two AEDs to new locations. 

How does one get trained on CPR and AEDs?

Active-duty and Reserve members can contact their unit AED program coordinator or Lt. Col. Troy Frazer, 482d MDS PAD Program Coordinator, to schedule training. Civilians can contact their direct supervisors. For more information please email the PAD program coordinator at: