Contest aims to map Philadelphia's AEDS
January 31, 2012 (WPVI) -- AEDs - or automated external defibrillators can save lives. But do you know where to find one? Penn Medicine today launched a contest to map the ones in Philadelphia.
Dr. Raina Merchant, an emergency medicine specialist, created the MyHeartMap challenge after she and her research team realized how little is known about where life-saving AED's are.
"We think there are about 5-thousand AEDs in the city of Philadelphia," she told Action News.
She says her researchers tried to do their own survey, but realized the job was too vast, and the information could get outdated by the time it was done.
So she decided to create the nation's first crowdsourced citywide registry. "Crowdsourcing" uses information from the public to gather information.
The free app works on either iPhone or Droid technology. It can be dowloaded from MyHeartMap Challenge.
To get involved, download the free app onto your smartphone, snap pictures of all the AEDS you can find.
Send your photos either through the app, or the project's website, with some additional information.
Dr. Merchant says, "We'll then need to go back and validate all of this information, to make sure the device is actually there. We then hope to create another app that will have information so that people can download this in an emergency, people can find an AED nearby."
Mike Hoaglin, a 4th year Penn medical student, needed an AED last spring, when he and other passersby came to the aid of a man who collapsed due to cardiac arrest on a center city street.
As he and a nurse did CPR on the 59-year-old man and called 9-1-1, another passerby went in search of an AED.
"The person who went to look for an AED couldn't find one initially in the restaurant that was nearby. couldn't find one at CVS, which you think would have one," recalls Hoaglin.
Finally, a fellow medical student found one in her apartment building.
They used it just before Philadelphia Fire Medics arrived to take the man to the hospital. Fortunately, he survived.
And the experience inspired Hoaglin to specialize in emergency medicine.
In its first hours, more than 115 search teams had registered to take part in the contest.
As an incentive, the project is also offering prizes, including a 10-thousand dollar prize to the person or group which submits the largest number of verified locations.
But the big winners will be those saved by easier-to-locate AEDs.
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