Health department promotes use of external defibrillators

It’s shockingly simple to save a life. Today, the Emergency Medical Services Division of Public Health – Seattle & King County launched the Shockingly Simple Campaign to increase adoption and registration of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Seattle and King County.  AEDs send an electric shock to the heart if a life-threatening condition called sudden cardiac arrest strikes.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart unexpectedly stops beating. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone and will result in death if not treated within minutes. In many cases, AED use is a victim’s only chance of survival. Each year, more than 300,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest, but studies show a 70 to 80 percent chance of survival if an AED is used within minutes.

“It’s shockingly simple to restart a heart with an AED,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We launched this campaign with the support of business and community leaders to encourage professionals to purchase and register AEDs, which have the potential to save lives within their organizations and communities.”

Today, less than 1,000 businesses and organizations in Seattle and King County have registered AEDs. Registering an AED with the EMS Division of Public Health – Seattle & King County allows 911 dispatchers to locate the nearest AED device in an emergency. When every second counts, finding the nearest AED can be a matter of life and death.

“AEDs don’t work if we can’t find them, so after purchasing an AED it is absolutely crucial to register them through KingCounty,” said Dr. Mickey Eisenberg, Medical Director for King County EMS Division of

Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Businesses and organizations should think of an AED as part of an office safety kit.”

AEDs are simple and easy for anyone to use. They are designed to diagnose a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm. If an abnormal rhythm is not found, the AED will not deliver a shock. If an abnormal rhythm is found, the AED will determine the need to deliver a shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm before emergency teams arrive. It’s that simple.

“We at Ben Bridge are pleased to support the Shockingly Simple campaign,” said Jon Bridge, co-CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler. “For decades, Seattle and King County have been leaders in preventing death from heart failure. Encouraging organizations to purchase and register AEDs is another way that we can help the region remain the number one place in the country to survive sudden cardiac arrest.”

For more information to help organizations learn about purchasing, registering, or placement of an AED, please download the Shockingly Simple toolkit at

Sound Heart Heroes

King County business and community leaders have signed on to the Shockingly Simple Campaign to become “Sound Heart Heroes.” These community leaders support the campaign and pledge to advocate for increased AED registration in their own organizations and throughout the community.

“I am joining the Shockingly Simple campaign because I know that together, business leaders, non-profits and community leaders can help save lives by increasing the number of Automatic External Defibrillators or AEDs in the workplace,” said Dr. Stephen Anderson, American Academy of Physicians President and Shockingly Simple Sound Heart Hero. “We must work to get them more widely distributed so our heroes can be successful, because every second counts.”

To learn more about the Shockingly Simple campaign and how you can help save lives in the King County community by buying and registering an AED, please visit

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