City is first in Utah to require public defibrillators

By Jacob Hancock
The Deseret Morning News

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A recently approved South Jordan city ordinance requires public access to automated external defibrillators in many public and private areas.

Although South Jordan is the first city in Utah to adopt such a regulation, many airlines, associations and other communities have mandated the placement of AEDs for nearly a decade.

For every minute a cardiac arrest patient goes without CPR and defibrillation, his chance of survival is reduced by about 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association.

Because even the fastest emergency crews can take several minutes to arrive, the new law aims to help city employees or other bystanders take advantage of those few life-teetering moments.

"Without CPR and defibrillation before an ambulance arrives, nothing will change; nearly all sudden cardiac arrest patients will continue to die," said South Jordan Fire Chief Chris Evans.

Even with limited or no training for users, the electronic device, which is made to automatically detect several types of cardiac arrest and defibrillate appropriately, will save many lives, Evans said.

"The device uses voice prompts to tell the rescuer the steps to take," according to Nathan Morreale. "It is safe and very easy to use."

The ordinance also encourages likely CPR performers and AED users to complete instruction programs, which the ordinance charges the city's fire department to provide.

"South Jordan residents should be proud their City Council is progressive in trying to save the lives of citizens," said Sharon Brockett, community strategies manager for the American Heart Association.

AEDs are required in the following locations, regardless of occupant load: fire department vehicles, police department patrol and school resource vehicles, licensed health-care providers, dentist offices, hotels and motels, assisted living or care centers, penal or correctional facilities, municipal and private golf courses and fitness centers or swimming pools 1,200 square feet or larger.

Government and schools with more than 50 people are also required to carry an AED, as well as other public and private buildings with an occupancy of 150 or more. The cost of an AED ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.

Copyright 2009 The Deseret News Publishing Co.

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