Should Indian River County Have an Ordinance Requiring Restaurants to Have Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s)?


Automated External Defibrillator (AED’s)


Our best guess, based on data from Florida Heart CPR in Vero Beach is that none of these have AED’s or staff certified in first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).  (We did not include restaurants like Waves because it is located within Costa D’este Beach Resort, which has one.)

AED’s are simple-to-use systems for lay people that are built with the computer technology to analyze the heart rhythm and determine if a shock is required.  AED’s are similar to pacemakers and automatically deliver shocks to get the heart beating.

The Moorings and Bent Pine clubs have multiple units and over 50 people have been trained on first aid and CPR at Bent Pine.

Then again, what about Walmart and Lowes?

CPR is required when a clot has traveled to a narrow vessel in the heart where blood cannot flow to the heart and it stops beating.  This is called Ventricular fibrillation (V-fib or VF), a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart, making them quiver rather than contract properly. Ventricular fibrillation is the most commonly identified arrhythmia in cardiac arrest patients.

There are, according to University of Chicago Medicine, there are approximately 350,000 deaths from Ventricular fibrillation in the U.S. every year.  One half of these are deaths where the person shows no symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain.  You are in a restaurant and your partner just collapses.

80% of the deaths occur in the home.


Florida Heart CPR

Here’s an alarming statistic. There are 22 middle and high schools in Indian River County with AED’s and the County’s School Board only allows three people at each school to be trained how to use them.

Perhaps even more alarming is that 19 of the schools have AED’s manufactured by Cardiac Science, which is filing for bankruptcy.  Vero Beach High School has seven manufactured by Cardiac Science.

Even if a school has an AED, not manufactured by a company going bankrupt, they need to be maintained.  Is anyone checking their batteries and whether or not the pads used to administer the shock have not expired.

Schools not only serve children.  What is the value of parents, grandparents, teachers and administrators?

And what about churches?  The Community Church has multiple units but Holy Cross won’t put one in because of liability issues.

Perhaps they don’t know that Florida Statute 768.13 created an act cited as the “Good Samaritan Act,” which established that any person, including those licensed to  practice medicine, who gratuitously and in good faith renders emergency care or treatment either in direct response to emergency situations related to and arising out of  a public health emergency…shall not be held liable for any civil damages as a result of such care or treatment.”

In terms of Holy Cross, what would the potential liability be for not having a AED?

Basically, AED’s should be located wherever people congregate, such as gyms, stadiums, malls, and large retail stores.

The more AED’s and certified first aid and CPR personnel the better.

Gayl Nye, owner of Florida Heart Center CPR, the National survival rate for people who die from Ventricular fibrillation without having received CPR with an AED is 2%.

With CPR and an AED the rate would approach 50-70%.

IFA Staff - Gayl Nye

Gayl Nye

There is a misperception that Ventricular fibrillation is only associated with older people.

That’s not necessarily the case because older people develop collateral circulation, which is “the redundant circulation in an area of tissue or an organ that blood can reach by more than one pathway. Collateral circulation in the heart tissue will sometimes bypass the blockage in the main artery and supply enough oxygenated blood to enable the cardiac tissue to survive and recover.” (Wikipedia)

There are five steps involved in resuscitating someone with Ventricular fibrillation called “The Adult Chain of Survival.”  (Youngsters and infants are treated differently.)

The first link in the Chain is to recognize that there is an emergency (the person is not breathing) and yell to someone to call 911.

The second link is to begin CPR. The person having the attack must be lying on his back.  Clothes should be moved out-of-the-way (there are scissors and gloves in the AED kit) and the heel of one hand should be put on the lower half of the breast bone.  The other hand should be put on the top of the first hand.

Your hands should push straight down at least two inches at a rate of at least 100 pushes a minute.


The third link it so get a AED.  The person bringing it should use it.  Since it is computerized it will prompt them exactly what to do while you keep pushing at the same rate.

The fourth link is to have the EMT transport the person to the hospital.

The fifth link is post cardiac care in the hospital where the patient is given cold fluids and a blanket.  The cold fluid reduces the oxygen requirement.

There has been considerable controversy about mouth-to-mouth recitation, were you put your mouth on the mouth of the patient to induce breathing.

According to University of Chicago Medicine, “a blue-ribbon panel of experts assembled by the American Heart Association (AHA) has called into question the role of mouth-to-mouth ventilation as an integral part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Although they are not yet ready to change the current AHA guidelines for performance of CPR, the Ventilation Working Group’s consensus statement suggests that in many cases of adult cardiac arrest, mouth-to-mouth ventilation as a part of CPR rarely helps and may even harm the patient.

The experts believe that mouth-to-mouth ventilation can interfere with the rescuer’s efforts to perform chest compressions and cause significant adverse effects. It makes CPR more difficult to teach, learn and perform, and dissuades by standers from initiating therapy.”

In our day and age putting your mouth on someone else’s mouth is what dissuades by standers from initiating therapy.

But the AED kit comes with a mouth guard.  These are the steps to give breath to a victim.  You lift their head by lifting the chin to open their airway.  Then you pinch the nose shut and cover their mouth your mouth using the mouth guard.  Blow two breaths for one second each and watch for the chest to rise as you give each breath.

We forgot to mention that Vero Beach Mayor Dick Winger recently advised that all Vero Beach police cars have AED’s and all officers are trained in first aid and CPR.

We extend a special thank you to Gayl Nye of Florida Heart CPR for contributing to this article.   Florida Heart CPR is affiliated with and fully certified by the American Heart Association; and follows the guidelines of as the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR).

Please call or email Gayl to schedule a class for your organization and purchase and AED (approximately $ 1,200)  Her contact information is as follows:



Gail and her staff provide “Professional training in a relaxed atmosphere.”

“We provide constructive work for the community.”

“This is saving lives.  What we are doing has a greater purpose.”

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