Netherlands upgrades public transportation AED system, nearing completion of tying them into a national resuscitation call system for civilian first responders.

All NS stations will be equipped with an AED from this year, according to Prorail and the Dutch Railways. The parties have been busy in recent years to provide the stations with an AED to increase the chance of survival during heart problems. In the first quarter of this year, Station Woerden, the last remaining station without a defibrillator, will also be equipped with an AED.

In total, there are now 575 AEDs at the 400 stations in the Netherlands. The defibrillators at the stations are part of a larger network with AEDs throughout the Netherlands. Prorail still faces one task to ensure that the resuscitation opportunities at the stations are increased: replacing the AEDs at the 50 major stations. There are still often AEDs that are not linked to HartslagNu, which is the national resuscitation call system for civilian first responders.

Every year, about 17,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside the hospital. This can happen in a sports facility or on a sports field, but usually in or around the house. Day and night. CPR within the first 6 minutes and defibrillation with an AED in the event of a shockable heart rhythm disorder offers a 50-70 percent chance of survival. Every minute of subsequent use of an AED reduces the chance of survival by 10 percent. An ambulance takes an average of 8 to 10 minutes to reach the victim. That is why there is a great need for an AED nearby to be available at all times. The AEDs are often arranged by institutions or agencies, but individuals can also buy an AED themselves .

Heart RateNow
Anyone who has completed accredited CPR training can register with HartslagNu. When a report of a cardiac arrest is received via 112, the system calls on civilian emergency workers who are in the vicinity of the victim. They are instructed to perform CPR and retrieve the nearest AED. In this way, the victim quickly receives the right help while the ambulance is on its way. Stations now play an important role in this because they are often centrally located and therefore easy to reach. When the AED is called, the administrator receives a message from the calling system that the AEDmay be used. In 50 percent of the cases, a civilian emergency worker connects the AED before an ambulance employee arrives. This is partly due to the fact that a civilian emergency worker is on site 2.5 minutes faster on average. Every year there are 8,000 resuscitations and more than half of the victims have never had heart problems before.

National coverage
ProRail has a social function and this also includes social involvement. They like to look at what can be improved, not only for the railways and stations, but also for travelers and local residents. That is why, together with NS and the Heart Foundation, they place at least one AED at each station. This increases the chance of survival of people who suffer a cardiac arrest at or around stations. The new AEDs fulfill an extra important function at no less than half of all stations: they cover an AED-free zone in the area. This is an area without a nearby AED available day and night, which is registered with the HartslagNu call system. This expansion therefore has a significant impact.

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