Metro moves AEDs out of reach, riders concerned

A yellow automated external defibrillator (center) sits inside a mangager\'s kiosk at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station Friday. Metro has moved the life-saving devices from publicly accessible boxes to the kiosks to protect them from tampering. (WTOP/John Aaron)

WASHINGTON – Multiple signs hang over an automated external defibrillator box at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station, helping riders to spot the life-saving device.

This box, however, is empty except for an instruction sheet. At the Gallery Place F Street entrance, the AED has been moved into the manager’s kiosk. It’s something that has apparently happened at other stations as well.

An AED can be used by a person without medical training to shock a person’s heart back to a normal rhythm.

Relocating the emergency device, which was first brought to light by the Metropolitan Transit Advocacy Group, is a concern to Metro riders.


This automated external defibrillator box is empty except for the instruction sheet at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station Friday. (WTOP/John Aaron)

“When seconds count, you don’t have time to go looking for a manager,” says rider John Vallejo. “Your hope is that (the AED) is in the box where it should be.”

According to the Red Cross’ website, for each minute defibrillation is delayed, a person’s chance of survival goes down by about 10 percent.

Metro has released the following statement:

“In order to maintain the functionality of the devices and due to certain high traffic areas where AEDs have been tampered with, the equipment was moved into the kiosks at many stations to ensure they remain available for passengers in an emergency. Monthly inspections of the devices continue to ensure their operability.”

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