Albufeira is the municipality in Portugal with the most automated external defibrillators (AEDs), with 11 AEDs available per 10,000 inhabitants compared to a national average of four AEDs per 10,000.
The announcement has been made by Albufeira council, which says the borough has a total of 50 AEDs – 48 which are already available to the population and two which are awaiting their licences from emergency institute INEM.
Deputy mayor Cristiano Cabrita highlighted that Albufeira is the municipality that invests the most in public access to AEDs – around €100,000 per year.
To ensure that there is always someone nearby who knows how to operate the defibrillators, the local council has also been investing in basic life support training, having already trained over 800 people to use the AEDs (around 2% of the local population).
On January 19, the council held a training exercise to test the response time to a case of cardiac arrest at the AED located near the local skate park and municipal stadium.
According to the local authority, it took 90 seconds after the defibrillator was activated for the closest person trained to use the device to arrive. A total of 48 people trained in basic life support and how to use the AED arrived at the scene, the council adds.
The local firefighting force is also alerted every time an AED is activated, sending a team to the location.
Cristiano Cabrita celebrated the success of the initiative, saying that it shows the commitment of those trained in basic life support and their ability to respond to a real-life situation.
“Having all these people trained by the council turn up for this exercise makes us very proud,” he said, adding that the council will continue to train locals on how to respond in cases of cardiac emergencies.
The local authority also said that around 6% of all the people trained to operate the AED turned up at the site even though it was just an exercise, which Cabrita believes is proof that there is a “sense of responsibility in the community, which shows how much Albufeira has to gain in maintaining this municipal programme”.
Young man saved thanks to AED in 2021
Indeed, public defibrillators have already proven life-saving in 2021, when a 21-year-old Portuguese tourist who had gone into cardiac arrest in Albufeira was “brought back to life” with a public access defibrillator.
The council says it plans to continue increasing the number of AEDs in Albufeira in 2023.
Out of the existing AEDs, 23 are installed on public streets and 11 at municipal buildings. The remaining defibrillators are portable, with 11 installed in vehicles belonging to security forces such as the GNR, municipal police and local civil protection services, while the others are kept at cultural and sports facilities.