MCFRS News Release

Spectators Save Cardiac Victim

Bystanders Perform CPR and Activate Life-Saving Technology

The combination of quick action, technology and a little ‘know-how’ resulted in a Prince George’s County man being alive today. On Friday evening, November 3, 2006 a 64-year old Bowie, Maryland man was attending the Good Counsel versus DeMatha high school football game at Good Counsel High School in Wheaton when he became ill. As he went to the concession stand to get a soda he collapsed and was apparently in ‘sudden cardiac arrest’.

Several bystanders immediately came to his aid, including a physician, as well as several others. While other help was being summoned and the 911 call was being made, another call out was made to get the school’s AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Off-duty Montgomery County Police and fire personnel in attendance at the game as spectators heard this call and immediately responded to assist.

A Montgomery County Police Officer, who happens to be a volunteer firefighter, as well, retrieved an AED from his county police vehicle and brought to the man’s side at which time a volunteer firefighter from Kensington applied and shocked the patient. Both men are emergency medical technicians. This action and treatment was successful and aided the revival of the victim’s vital signs. Minutes later an ambulance and other fire and rescue equipment and personnel arrived on the scene.

The man was treated and then transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. He was alert, conscious and talking to staff upon arrival in the emergency room. He is believed to be a DeMatha fan. (DeMatha won the football contest)

There have been at least eight (8) Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) saves since a law was enacted in Montgomery County, Maryland on July 1, 2005, requiring automatic external defibrillators (AED) in all health clubs. Three of the saves, including the one this past weekend had been in other public places. A law went into affect on July 1, 2006 requiring AEDs in all Montgomery County Public High Schools.

In all the cases, individuals or bystanders have activated what the American Heart Association calls the “Chain of Survival” for Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The “Chain of Survival” involves a bystander (initial recognition of a cardiac arrest), someone who summons help (calls 911), a Emergency Medical Dispatcher (sends fire and rescue medical assistance quickly), persons who perform CPR and utilize an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), the fire and EMS crews who arrive and continue the care, paramedics who initiate Advanced Life Support procedures, and those who transport the patients to the hospital. This is a “Chain of Survival”. 


Montgomery County law requires all Health Club type facilities to have an AED present at all times. This law went into effect on July 1, 2005.

State law requires all Montgomery County Public High Schools to have an AED present at all times. This law went into effect on July 1, 2006.

Since July 1, 2005, five (5) of the eight (8) AEDs used on sudden cardiac arrest patients were at Athletic/Health Clubs. Three others occurred in public places, including the football stadium at Good Counsel HS, Lakeforest Mall and on a roadside near Route 108 and Georgia Avenue, in Olney.

Since July 1, 2005, there have had eight (8) successful Public AED usages with successful outcomes. Success is measured by the fact the patient is alive today.

All eight (8) AED usages were on male patients between the ages of 39 and 70.

Currently there over 800 AEDs, including potentially hundreds of other private, unregistered AEDS are in Montgomery County according to MIEMSS (Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems), which is the state agency responsible for AED registrations. Montgomery County has the most AEDs of any local jurisdiction in Maryland.

The average cost of an AED is between $1000 and $2000 for the device.

A private citizen can purchase an AED for personal home use without having to register it or get a doctor prescription.