Not having access to one of these small devices could be potentially deadly for some victims of cardiac arrest.

Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, are mostly associated with first responders; however, the devices are becoming commonplace in many Fort Leonard Wood workplaces.

The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood has established its Public Access Defibrillator Program, which outlines procedures for acquiring the device and training designated users.

"We have always had AEDs in our response vehicles," he said. "Chances are, as first responders, we are on scene before the ambulance arrives."

An AED is an electronic device designed to deliver an electric shock to a victim of sudden- cardiac arrest.

Normal heart rhythm may be restored up to 60 percent of the time, if treated promptly with an AED, a procedure called defibrillation, according to U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

All of Fort Leonard Wood's military police patrol cars now have AEDs, after a mass purchase six months ago.

"The purchase of the devices was quite an investment but worthwhile. They provide another capability to provide a service to the public," said Don Rose, deputy director, Directorate of Emergency Services.

"We recognized the advantage of having the devices in our vehicles, since our patrols respond to various types of emergencies," Rose said. "We train our patrols in CPR, so it was logical to step up and train in AED application. Fortunately, we have not had to use that training, yet."

More than 114 AEDs have been purchased in the last year for U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood worksites, according to Glover.

An AED, with a wall-mounted cabinet, costs more than $1,245, according to Glover, who said organizations have to pay for the devices. The device without cabinet costs about $1,000 and includes an accessory kit.

"When an organization or unit contacts me about purchasing AEDs, we first discuss their needs and requirement, based on occupancy," Glover said. "We also determine whether the requirement is for a portable AED kit or the permanently wall-mounted version."

OSHA also states approximately 890 deaths from coronary heart disease occur outside of the hospital or emergency room every day. Most of these deaths are due to the sudden loss of heart function or sudden cardiac death.

Chances of survival from sudden cardiac death diminish by 7 to 10 percent for each minute without immediate CPR or defibrillation with a device such as an AED, states OSHA on its website.

AEDs should only be used by those who have received the proper training and certification, according to the Army publication, AR 40-3, that regulates the placement and use of the devices on Army installations and within facilities.

The USAG Fort Leonard Wood AED policy letter states a minimum of two, or 5 percent of the total facility occupants, should be trained in AED use.

There were 6,628 workplace fatalities reported to OSHA in 2001 and 2002. A number of these victims, up to 60 percent, might have been saved if AEDs were immediately available, according to OSHA.