When I was still working as an ambulance nurse, there was very little attention for AEDs. During our work on the ambulance we sometimes came across AEDs, but those were exceptions. The AED was new and scary for many people. To be honest, we encountered the AED unused, more often than used. The early adopters of the late 1990s/early 2000s may have had an AED, but they were not yet used on a large scale to save lives.
The Netherlands leading the way
In recent years, organisations such as the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Red Cross and HartslagNu have ensured that the AED is now an indispensable part of the Dutch street scene. What a fantastic development that is! Every year we take part in the annual congress of the Dutch Resuscitation Council and every year this development continues to grow: An AED is used more and more during cardiac arrests, every year the number of people who can perform CPR increases and every year the number of emergency response workers who are registered with HartslagNu to help save lives increases. During the congresses of the European Resuscitation Council, it is always apparent that in the Netherlands we lead the way in this field. Last December we were able to celebrate the fact that resuscitation can now be started within 6 minutes throughout the Netherlands! In the system as many as 245,000 people are now registered with 24,000 AEDs.
Funnily enough, about 10 years ago we already thought that the market was saturating. I remember that manufacturers and suppliers kept expecting that the growth in the number of AEDs would come to an end, starting with the Netherlands. After all, we had already installed so many AEDs! But year after year, AEDs were sold because of the increasing awareness among people. AEDs really do save lives!
Personally, I am not only proud of the current situation in the Netherlands, but also of the development in other European countries. In Denmark we see a similar growth as in the Netherlands and in other European countries there is still a continuous growth in the number of available AEDs. At the same time, we at Medisol are preparing ourselves for the delivery of our 50,000th (!) AED. Can you imagine how many people have been saved by all these AEDs in the past years...