As Serious As A Heart Attack

Defibrillators save lives, but have yet to go mainstream

 More than 325,000 deaths occur every year as a result of cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. But, if an automated external defibrillator (AED) is administered to a victim within the first five minutes of a heart attack, the chance of survival increases by 70 percent.

Enter the Cardio Ready designation program. It’s administered by the AHA, and currently focuses on hotels. Less than 10 percent of the country’s hotels have completed the program. It includes an assessment of a property, and installation and maintenance of AEDs. The designation also requires a hotel to train onsite personnel and follow accepted best practices in compliance with local and state regulations.

The Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina is Cardio Ready. The Harbor Island property invested money in training, and bought four AEDs. This story is short and sweet. Over the past two years, hotel staff has saved three lives with the AEDs.

Terex Corporation director Gregg Austin suffered a heart attack at the Sheraton. Ask him if more public places should also invest in the devices. “On the way to the hospital I was thanking the emergency response team,” says Austin. “They said, ‘Don’t thank us thank the hotel, they had you back well before we got there.’”

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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