Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

A Better Way to Locate the Closest AED

In having to come up with games, or other methods of locating AED (Automated External Defibrillators), we are trying to solve a system design problem that might be as simple as an equipment design problem.

Maybe the answer is to put RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips in each of the AEDs. Last night I was discussing this with Brandi Winemiller and she suggested that I write more about this.

RFID is usually short range, but the signal can be picked up at longer distances with the right equipment. Then it becomes a problem of where to place equipment to locate RFIDs or what type of mobile equipment to use and how to use it. RFID is easier to keep up to date than running the occasional contest.

Image credit.

If people willing to do CPR are encouraged in CPR courses to download an application that helps to locate the closest AED, that would bring the information to the target audience. The information might be from the AED itself, or from the mapping application, or both. Maybe RFID is the wrong technology, but it is certainly worth considering.

One application is AED4 US.

CPR only requires compressions (CPR/ACLS guidelines admit this is true for bystander CPR, but fear prevents the admission that the same is true for EMS and hospital personnel), so we could use a lot of the course time to teach AED use. Since teaching continuous compressions and AED use does not require a lot of time, we could shorten the courses significantly.


If the CPR course is shortened and simplified, then mobile CPR teaching might be a better way to bring the knowledge to the people who might use it. We need to get over our fascination with ventilation in cardiac arrest and the pit crew approach that is justified by the lack of understanding of the lack of benefit of ventilations.[1]

CPR can be nice and simple and be even more effective than when we complicate things, but we continue to keep our resuscitation rates down just to satisfy the people who don’t understand.

CPR is not about the instructors.

CPR is not about the students.

CPR is about the patients.


Hands-Only CPR


  • 1) Call 911


  • 2) Push hard and fast


  • 3) And use an AED


Resuscitation does not need to be more complicated than this.


[1] Vinnie Jones’ hard and fast Hands-only CPR
Rogue Medic
Wed, 11 Jan 2012



  1. RFID is an interesting idea, albeit one that is range limited. One potential would be to light up an AED icon on your phone whenever it senses an AED RFID token. You could place one at each AED and at the entrance to any building with at least one inside.

    Basically, if you’re within range you’d know…but you’d still have to stumble around.

    Potentially you could pair that with a phone-home setup which would note if it had told the carrier it was currently connected to about the AED it just “saw” and the current location. People walking around normally would start feeding these back to create the initial “map”.

    A low-tech option in bigger cities or in downtown style areas is to mandate “AED Inside” signs on buildings or on the sidewalk, although this is a more permanent option.