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Safety group investigating Metro defibrillator failure

Monday - 4/23/2012, 1:11pm  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The group that has direct oversight of Metro safety says it is stepping in after a passenger died when a defibrillator failed to work.

A 51-year-old man died last week after he had an apparent heart attack on the Yellow Line. Metro says the defibrillator that was used on him at Pentagon station didn't have enough of a charge.

The Tri-State Oversight Committee, or TOC, says it will review Metro's defibrillator procedures and then audit those practices.

"The audit involves verifying whether or not (the procedures) are being properly implemented," TOC Chairman Matt Bassett writes in an email.

According to a statement on the Tri-State Oversight committee website, "the functionality of emergency equipment within Metrorail facilities is of critical importance."

Metro says all existing Automatic External Defibrillators, also called AEDs, were upgraded to new models after the incident. Meanwhile, work is underway to put new ones in every station.

At the time of the incident, only 46 defibrillators were available in Metro's 86 stations.

"The rollout of new AEDs to station entrances that previously did not have them will be completed before April 30," says Metro chief spokesperson Dan Stessel.

Metro says it welcomes the extra review of its procedures from the TOC.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)