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New app will help locate nearest AED

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Matt Haugen and Steve Shepro, seniors studying paramedicine, are working with the Rexburg City Council to promote Automated External Defibrillator (AED) awareness.
They are entering AED locations into a mobile app, called ShowNearby AED, that locates the nearest AED to wherever a person who needs one is located.
They said the goal is to let people know where AEDs are located, so they  can help someone while waiting for police and paramedics.
“An AED is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm. If necessary, it delivers an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart
re-establish an effective rhythm,”
according to the American Red Cross.
Shepro said that an AED is essentially the same thing as a defibrillator that would be used by a doctor, nurse or paramedic on a patient, but that the AED is designed to be easy for people to use.
“People think that only a trained responder can use an AED, but anyone can use it,” Shepro said. “As soon as you turn the machine on, it starts talking to you, it tells you what to do.”
Haugen said that operating an AED is simple.
“We have literally trained a
4-year-old [to use one]” Haugen said.
Shepro said that a common misconception is that defibrillators are used to restart the heart when it has stopped. The device is instead used to restore a normal rhythm when an abnormal rhythm occurs.
Haugen said he first got involved with identifying AED devices and AED awareness to fulfill a need that he saw.
“It is pointless to spend $1,000 on
an AED if people don’t know about them and how to use them,” Haugen said.
According to the American Red Cross, it is vital to a patient suffering from a heart condition, like sudden cardiac arrest, to receive both CPR and defibrillation — made possible by an AED.
A victim’s chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, according to Vfibs, a website of AED statistics.
“For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by approximately 10 percent,” Shepro said.
He said that the AED is to return the heart back to a regular rhythm, and CPR is used to help the mechanical system continue to function.
“The heart has an electrical system, and it has a mechanical system,” Shepro said.
According to the BYU-I website there are 32 AEDs located on campus.
Haugen said that as part of the AED awareness program, they hope to get a website, called the Idaho AED Initiative, and running as soon as possible.
“If people see the importance of an AED, they might be more prone to listening,” Haugen said. “People can go out and watch a video. It is 10 minutes of their lives, and they know how to do this for the rest of their lives.”
Haugen and Shepro said that they hope this project will increase AED awareness in the community, and
that people will help map locations of AEDs in Southeastern Idaho.
“We want volunteers,” Shepro said. “We have plans to increase the awareness in southeast Idaho and we want people to contact us.”
Shepro said that volunteers can help by educating people in the community, mapping AED locations, assisting in building a website and designing posters and web banners.
Anyone interested in volunteering can email Steve Shepro at she12031@byui.edu or Matt Haugen at hau07001@byui.edu.

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