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LCQ17: Automated external defibrillators
     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Tang Ping-keung, in the Legislative Council today (March 29):

     Some members of the public have relayed that at present, some government venues (e.g. post offices, estate offices under the Hong Kong Housing Authority, community halls, community centres, government secondary and primary schools, Recycling Stations under the Environmental Protection Department, public markets and public toilets) have not yet been installed with automated external defibrillators (AEDs). In addition, the online information platform named "Centralised AED Registry for Emergency" (the online platform) of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department (FSD) only relies on government departments and organisations that participate in the FSD's "AED Anywhere for Anyone" Programme (the Programme) to voluntarily upload the locations and details of the AEDs installed by them onto the online platform, resulting in the online platform containing incomprehensive data about AEDs across the territory, and even potentially delaying rescue work. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether the Government has regularly conducted inspections and checks on the AEDs installed in government venues to ensure that they can operate properly; if so, of the details;

(2) whether the Government will install AEDs in the aforesaid government venues that have not yet been installed with AEDs to facilitate rescue work;

(3) whether the Government will provide funding support for subvented organisations and private organisations to encourage them to install AEDs; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(4) whether it has installed AEDs in venues under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Department of Health and the Government Property Agency, and uploaded the locations and details of such AEDs onto the online platform; and

(5) whether the Government will request all government departments, subvented organisations and private organisations participating in the Programme to upload the locations and details of the installed AEDs onto the online platform; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     To enhance the community's awareness, capabilities and supporting measures of emergency preparedness, the Fire Services Department (FSD) has been making vigorous efforts to formulate and implement strategies on community emergency preparedness, as well as organise educational and promotional activities in the community and explore ways to improve accessibility of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for public use in a bid to enhance the efficiency of life-saving treatment. The department launched the "AED Anywhere for Anyone" (AAA) Programme in June 2021, which aims to increase the number of AEDs across the territory that can be readily accessed by the public, and to enhance people's awareness and capabilities in using an AED in case of emergency, so that they will be able to administer defibrillation to cardiac arrest patients. Information about AEDs under the programme, including the locations, is available at the FSD's online information platform "Centralised AED Registry for Emergency" (CARE) to facilitate public access. Since the launch of the AAA Programme, over 160 public and private organisations have voluntarily provided the details of over 1 700 AEDs on the CARE platform.

     The FSD has taken the lead by installing AEDs outside over 100 fire stations and ambulance depots across the territory when launching the above programme. The department has also put up an AED sign on over 600 FSD vehicles equipped with an AED. In the event of calls for help, fire personnel could make use of the AEDs in the vehicles to provide assistance.

     AEDs are now available at a number of places across the territory, including government buildings and offices, medical institutions, theme parks, schools, large shopping malls, private housing estates, commercial buildings, nursing homes. The FSD has all along encouraged and helped relevant organisations to install AEDs and make them available to the public for use in case of emergency.

     At the same time, the FSD has been making vigorous efforts to plan and carry out educational and promotional activities related to community emergency preparedness. In respect of the implementation of education on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED in the community, when promoting the "three basic skills of emergency preparedness" (which are namely "Extinguish and Prevent Fire, Self-help and Help others, and Escape and Evacuate"), the use of AED and CPR are taught as one of the skills of "Self-help and Help Others". Educational and publicity work have been carried out through television and radio as well as distribution of promotional leaflets. Apart from this, the FSD has organised a series of courses and lectures in school campus and the community. To enhance community emergency preparedness, the FSD has also made vigorous efforts to reach out to different age and community groups through other channels such as social media, online platforms, public engagement activities with different methods (such as short video clips, infographics, games and competitions), with a view to disseminating messages of emergency preparedness to everyone in the community. 

     By implementing the above measures, the FSD aims to create a social atmosphere that will foster the culture of "self help and help others" in the wider community, and at the same time promote the installation of AEDs by various organisations, making the device readily accessible anywhere by anyone.

     Having consulted relevant bureaux and departments, the consolidated reply to the question raised by the Member is as follows:

(1) In respect of the maintenance of AEDs, FSD officer conduct daily inspection of the AEDs outside FSD premises and those equipped in FSD vehicles to ensure that the AEDs are in good standby conditions. As for AEDs installed at respective venues by other government departments (including the Government Property Agency (GPA), Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA), Education Bureau, District Offices (DOs)), they are inspected and checked by relevant contractors or staff from time to time to ensure that they can function properly.

     In addition, the AAA Programme of the FSD provides associated supporting measures to participating government departments or public and private organisations, including providing advice on AED maintenance, assigning staff to AED locations to provide AED inspection and consultation from time to time, and regularly send reminder emails to participating organisations on inspection reminders. (referred as "various supporting measures"), to assist and encourage AED owners to maintain their AEDs properly.

(2) Apart from the 1 700 AEDs on the CARE platform, we know that there are AEDs installed by other organisations (including government departments) at different venues in the community, such as 26 shopping centres under the HA, various community halls/community centres under the DOs, some GREEN@COMMUNITY Recycling Stations under the EPD and 65 government primary and secondary schools. Other government departments will also explore with the FSD the feasibility of installing AEDs at their respective appropriate venues.

     The FSD will continue to actively encourage government departments to step up measures concerning the installation of AEDs that are available to the public for use in case of emergency, and to make those AEDs available on the CARE platform, so that citizens can find the nearest AED when they encounter a case of cardiac arrest to enhance the efficiency of life-saving treatment and to further safeguard citizens' lives.

(3) Currently, the AAA Programme of the FSD encourages and assists participating organisations to install AEDs through promotion in the community coupled with professional and technical support. Although no subsidy is available in respect of AEDs, the FSD will continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach in providing comprehensive and appropriate supporting measures to participating organisations of the AAA Programme. Apart from the above-mentioned various supporting measures, assistance on choosing the appropriate AEDs, enhancement in the installation locations of AEDs, provision of trainings, seminars and lectures on CPR and AED. are included to assist and encourage AED owners to make their devices readily accessible anywhere by anyone.

(4) The LCSD and the GPA have installed AEDs in many of their respective venues, including sports grounds, sports centres, tennis courts, holiday camps, performance venues, libraries, museums and government offices, involving around 550 AEDs in total. Some of those AEDs have been made available on the CARE platform. The GPA has plans to provide details of its remaining AEDs on the CARE platform as soon as possible, targeted for completion in the second quarter of this year. Also, the LCSD is currently in discussion with the FSD to sort out implementation details on providing relevant information on the CARE platform, with a view to implementing related arrangements as soon as possible. 

     In respect of the Department of Health (DH), first-aid equipment and medical supplies are available in DH clinics for their daily operations, and are used by trained healthcare professionals as appropriate. The healthcare professionals of the DH will provide emergency assistance when there are persons in need of first aid.

(5) On top of stepping up measures concerning the installation of installing AEDs in government departments, the FSD is actively encouraging different organisations to provide information about their AEDs on the CARE platform. The department will also continue to develop other associated supporting measures, strengthen its services and explore options for co-operation with interested organisations. When the number of participating organisations have grown, and the public's awareness and capabilities in respect of the availability and use of AEDs in the community have gradually increased, it will prompt more organisations of various kinds to participate in the AAA Programme and to provide details of relevant AEDs on the CARE platform. 
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:10
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