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Mayor Bowser Announces AED Rebate Program with DC Fire and EMS to Help Increase Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

Wednesday, April 10, 2024
With More Than 100,000 People Trained in Hands-Only CPR through Hands on Hearts, AED Incentive Program Launches as Mayor Announces FY25 Investments in Fire and EMS, Including New Paramedic School

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Fire and EMS launched the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) incentive program, which will expand the availability of AEDs across DC and help increase survival rates for people who go into cardiac arrest in the community. The program supports the purchase of AEDs by offering a cash rebate of up to $400 for each device purchased and installed and is open to small businesses, places of worship, condos, co-ops, and non-profit organizations. While available for all parts of the city, the program aims to close disparities in survival rates in areas with low AED accessibility. 

“We know that bystander intervention can save lives; we’re proud of the thousands of people who have learned hands-only CPR; and now, through this AED rebate program, we can save more lives,” said Mayor Bowser. “I’m grateful that our Fire and EMS team is thinking strategically and creatively about how to address disparities in health outcomes, and I encourage organizations to participate in the AED incentive program.” 

An AED is a medical device that automatically analyzes the heart rhythm in people who experience cardiac arrest. It provides basic instructions and prompts, making it easier for bystanders to use during CPR. When appropriate, AEDs also deliver an electrical shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm.  

“We are thankful to Mayor Bowser and the Council for providing us with the funding needed to implement this life-saving incentive,” said Fire and EMS Chief John A. Donnelly Sr. “I’m proud of the efforts our providers have made to improve cardiac survival rates in the District of Columbia, and we’re pleased to see how impressive the District’s results are. I am confident that through our Hands on Heart CPR training and this AED incentive program, we will continue to save lives and close the gap in the racial disparity of cardiac survival rates, making our saves more equitable.” 

The launch of the AED incentive program comes as DC Fire and EMS announced that they have taught 103,261 people hands-only CPR through its Hands on Heart program. Immediate CPR and the use of an AED can triple a person’s chance of surviving, and nine out of ten cardiac arrest victims who receive a shock within the first minute of cardiac arrest survive. 

In 2023, DC had one of the highest cardiac survival rates in the nation, with 45% of all people who suffered cardiac arrest witnessed by bystanders (with a shockable rhythm) walking out of the hospital with minimal to no lasting effects. This survival rate is 14% above the nation’s average. AED use from bystanders in Washington, DC, however, was not very high, with only 15 of 229 witnessed cardiac arrests utilizing an AED. In 2023, 849 patients suffered nontraumatic cardiac arrest, 70 of them survived and left the hospital with minimal to no lasting neurological effects.

The rebate program allows DC Fire and EMS to target the communities most in need and provide a life-saving service to help address the racial disparities in survival rates that currently exist. DC Fire and EMS data shows that over the last two years, Black patients survived cardiac arrests at half the rate of white patients. 

Qualified applicants need to follow three simple steps to receive AED rebates: 

  • Step 1: Purchase and install an AED, ensuring to take a photo and keep your proof of purchase. 
  • Step 2: Register your AED with the DC Fire and EMS AED registry
  • Step 3: Submit your rebate application and receive a rebate within 45 days. 

Rebates will be up to $400 per AED by a business, nonprofit, religious institution, or other entity — with a maximum rebate of up to $750 per system per address and contingent upon the availability of funds. For more information and to apply for a rebate visit AED Incentive Program or email [email protected].

At today’s event the Mayor also highlighted investments to support Fire and EMS in her Fiscal Year 2025 budget, including:  

  • $157 million to purchase new ambulances, ladder trucks, a new fire boat, and other critical lifesaving apparatus.  
  • $4.8 million to fund procurement of critical life-saving equipment for fire and emergency medical response personnel.  
  • $841,000 to continue the development of the District’s premiere paramedic school, which will train up to 70 local paramedics per year. 

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