Press Release

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
1 Aviation Circle - Washington, DC 20001-6000 - (703) 417-8370 - Fax: (703) 417-8371

Monday, August 27, 2001

Equipment to Assist Cardiac Arrest Victims Installed at Washington’s Airports

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has recently installed automatic external defibrillator (AED) units throughout the public facilities at Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports. The AED is a life-saving electronic device that delivers an electric shock to the heart to help re-establish normal rhythm during a heart attack. In addition to their use in hospitals and by emergency medical teams, the new generation of defibrillators is now being used by the airlines and in other places where the public gathers. In addition, Airports Authority Police Stations and some police cruisers have been equipped with the AED’s.

The AED’s are placed in highly visible locations throughout the airports in clearly marked cabinets that have a picture of a heart and say “Automatic External Defibrillator”. Members of the general public who have already received training on the AED will now have access to the defibrillators should an emergency occur. Instructions are included with each AED along with pictures to guide users through the steps.

Each year, 350,000 people in the U.S. are victims of sudden cardiac arrest with only about 5% of them surviving, largely because defibrillators did not reach the victims in time. Most of these sudden cardiac arrest victims have ventricular fibrillation, which is an abnormal, chaotic heart rhythm, which prevents the heart from pumping blood to the body and the brain. The AED equipment allows the user to defibrillate the victim immediately and allow a normal heart rhythm to resume. In an emergency situation, such as cardiac arrest, seconds count; the ability to respond quickly can save lives. Every day, over 100,000 people pass through Dulles and National Airports. The availability of these machines at the airports is an added safety feature.

Training in how to properly use the AED equipment is being provided to airport employees by the Airports Authority Fire & Rescue Department. The Fire & Rescue Department is teaching the American Heart Association’s HeartSaver/AED course which includes Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

The installation of the AED’s is an additional way the Airports Authority is working to protect the safety and well-being of airport employees and the over 36million visitors and travelers who come to our airports each year.