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Home​NewsOutdoor, Accessbile AED Installed at Eastern Market

Outdoor, Accessbile AED Installed at Eastern Market

There’s a new feature at Eastern Market (225 Seventh St. SE) —and it could save lives.

If you turn the western corner of the North Hall towards the alley, there is a cabinet marked “Save Station”. Inside is an automatic electronic defibrillator (AED). It is a little machine that does a big job: it helps any bystander help save a life in the case of cardiac arrest.

An AED sends an electronic signal to stimulate heartbeat in the case of emergency. Now, an AED is always accessible at Eastern Market, easy to spot in a white cabinet labelled “Save Station,” and lit up at night.

It was placed in a partnership between non-profit Every Second Counts CPR, Zoll Medical, Save Station and DC Fire Emergency Medical Services (DC FEMS) and DC’s Department of General Services (DGS), managers of Eastern Market. Access to Save Lives

Canadian company Save Station builds climate-controlled, lit-up towers that allow for 24/7 outdoor access to AED devices. The Eastern Market Save Station is the first to be installed in DC.

AEDs are used when a person is unconcious or not breathing (or breathing abnormally) while a patient awaits emergency services.

Save Station provides three steps that they say can save lives: 1. Call 911 2. Push: provide CPR 3. Shock: use an AED as soon as possible

To use the Save Station, you open the cabinet (an alarm will sound) and take out the AED. Then, just press the white power button and the machine will tell you what to do. Save Station Partnership Manager Katrysha Gellis says many people feel more confident when prepared. So you can watch a video to learn how to use the AED, to prepare yourself in case you are ever in a position to save a life (there’s a QR code on every Save Station or click here).

DC FEMS personnel stand near the Save Station. It’s right on the corner of the North Hall facing the alley. At night, it is lit up. Until November 2024 elections conclude, the Ballot Drop off box is adjacent to it.
The SaveStation cabinet is located just to the right of the entrance to the North Hall –on the west corner, facing the alley that runs between the market and Rumsey Aquatic Center. Map: Google Maps

A Four-Minute Window

That help can be critical. According to the National Institute for Health, nearly 90 percent of people do not survive cardiac arrest when it happens outside the hospital. “It can happen to anyone, even if you do not have a heart condition,” said Gellis. The crucial thing is time. NIH research indicates that the brain can survive for up to four minutes until the heart is restarted again. After ten minutes, the chances for survival are low.

“Really it is about engaging with the public so that everyone in the public first, knows were they are,” Save Station Co-Founder Deb Henning said. “Ultimately, you have and of a 4-minute mindset so that you could get an AED within that critical window.”

Save Station Co-Founder Deb Henning said cardiac arrest can happen to “anyone at anytime.” Photo: E.O’gorek/CCN

“It Could Happen to Anyone, Anytime”

People sometimes think this is something that just happens to old people, Henning said. But that isn’t always the case. The first time a Save Station was used to save a life happened just outside of Seattle in June, 2022. A 13-year-old girl called Nina was in a soccer tournament at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA when she collapsed. Her coach called 911, and a bystander immediately started CPR while another person ran to the Save Station, Henning said. Nina had no known history of cardiac concerns.

“Nina is alive today because people like you thought about this, took the chance, put it outside and didn’t lock it up,” Henning said.

A week later, another Save Station was opened just outside Sonoma, California when 16-year-old Mike Serbicki collapsed while playing basketball. His friends began CPR and ran to get the AED from a nearby Save Station. They saved his life.

“I think we all have to look and realize that this can happen to anybody, anytime, any age,” Henning said. “It’s really the public that needs to be prepared, not afraid to step in and do the very best you can until medical help arrives.”

Ed Koziec is a cardiac arrest survivor who went on to found non-profit Every Second Counts CPR and the National CPR & AED Awareness Rally & March, the latter meeting May 31-June 1 in DC for a fourth year.

Partnership

The partnership behind the first Save Station in DC was brought together by Ed Koziec founder of Every Second Counts CPR. In March 2019, he was training for a marathon. After running, he went for lunch with his wife —and lost consciousness in the restaurant. A high school senior performed CPR, keeping his heart pumping until emergency personnel arrived. Koziec said he was in the best shape of his life at the time he went into cardiac arrest. But there was no AED in the restaurant at the time, he said. It was only the luck of having a trained teenager in the room that he is alive today.  “Having an outdoor defibrillator for the public to use, it is huge,” Koziec said, adding that he wants to reduce the odds for everyone else.

The choice of Eastern Market is strategic, DGS Director Delano Hunter said Thursday. “This is what I call one of our gathering spots,” Hunter said. “It’s a cultural institution.” Thousands of people converge on Eastern Market every weekend, the DGS Director said, meaning access to the AED technology “could go a long way.”

Hunter, himself formerly a certified Red Cross CPR instructor, said he recognized the importance of the installation. “We’re merging the need, we’re merging the location,” he said. “I look forward to hopefully investing in more SaveStations and other resources and continuing to train other residents around the city to be prepared to assist other residents and visitors in the case of an emergency.”

DC FEMS Battalion Chief Oluwafunmike Omasere speaks at the event.

A Group Effort

In 2023, DC had one of the highest cardiac survival rates in the nation, 14 percent above the nation’s average. AED use from bystanders in Washington, DC, however, was not very high, with only 15 of 229 witnessed cardiac arrests utilizing an AED. In 2023, 849 patients suffered non-traumatic cardiac arrest. 70 of them survived and left the hospital with minimal to no lasting neurological effects.

The new SaveStation is part of a District effort to increase access to AEDs. In April, DC Fire EMS announced an AED Rebate Program. It offers a cash rebate of up to $400 for each device purchased and installed and is open to small businesses, places of worship, condos, co-ops and non-profit organizations. DC Fire EMS has also trained more than 103,000 people in Hands on Heart, hands only CPR training, DC FEMS Battalion Chief Oluwafunmike Omasere said a the event; training is offered free to participants.

DC FEMS offers free, hands-on CPR training throughout the District, often appearing at festivals, events and weekends at Eastern Market.

The event also marked the start of June 1 to 7 as CPR & AED Awareness Week. Koziec’s non profit is hosting the 4th Annual Every Second Counts CPR National CPR & AED Awareness Rally & March from Friday, May 31 through Saturday, June 1. The event includes a march, CPR training, social events, free heart screenings and an attempt to break a world record.

Koziec said his goal with the rally is the same as with the partnership: to gather people with one voice and address the issue. “If only 1 out of 10 people survive cardiac arrest,” he said, “to me that’s a serious problem.”

Now, with an AED available 24/7 at Eastern Market, you too can work to improve those numbers —just by knowing it is there.

Learn more about the National CPR & AED Awareness Rally & March https://www.everysecondcountscpr.org/events. Learn more about DC FEMS Hands-on CPR training at https://fems.dc.gov/page/hands-hearts-cpr-program. Watch the Smart Station video online here.

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