In an effort to provide better emergency medical response for visitors and employees of Yosemite National Park, the National Park Service and Yosemite Concession Services are installing automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in public areas throughout the park.
Electricity (cardiac defibrillation), with CPR, is the most effective treatment for common forms of cardiac arrest. These devices have improved to the point where they can now be used by the trained public, automatically analyzing the heart´s rhythm and applying the correct electrical shock as required. AEDs are saving lives.
The key to saving a person in cardiac arrest is immediate CPR and an AED applied within three to five minutes after the cardiac arrest. To achieve that goal, AEDs are being placed in public buildings, airports, and other workplaces across the country. They are prominently displayed like fire extinguishers, for rapid access and use by local employees and members of the public. This strategy is called Public Access Defibrillation, or PAD.
Yosemite began its own PAD program last year, and the first AEDs are now being installed in park buildings. Park Superintendent Mike Tollefson and Yosemite Concession Services Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelly placed the parks´ first public use AED in the Village Store parking lot entrance on Monday, February 24, 2003
AEDs will be placed in The Ahwahnee hotel, Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village, and Wawona Hotel registration areas, the Valley Visitor Center, the National Park Service Maintenance Complex, and the Crane Flat store in winter and Tuolumne Meadows store in summer.
One essential part of the program is to train as many employees as possible, both park service and concessionaire, in CPR and the use of AEDs. For the AED program to be successful, even untrained employees must be aware of the program and the location of the closest AED.
The AEDs are staged in prominently labeled wall cabinets with audible door alarms that alert others to the emergency. In addition, a ranger vehicle or ambulance in each district carries an AED.