Two years ago, Jamie Alls was on the sidelines one week after going into cardiac arrest on this basketball court. Lucky for him there was an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site.
“It was a frightening experience, but I don't think I would be here unless that AED was in that gym. A lot of things had to go right for me to be sitting here talking to you,” Alls said. “Sometimes people can have cardiac arrests and a bystander may not realize a defibrillator is nearby.”
But even Medic One doesn't know where all those AEDs are located.
"In the city of Seattle, we know there are at least 350. About 50% of the time that a lay person uses a defibrillator, we already know about it, it's already in our records. So we are trying to identify the other 50 percent of defibrillators that we don't know about,” said Dr. Graham Nichol with Harborview Medical Center and Medic One Foundation.
So they've come up with an innovative way to find them: hold a city-wide scavenger hunt with an award prize up to $10,000 for the person or team that finds the most.
Dr. Nichol says it's whimsical, but more efficient than the alternative.
"Another approach would be to send a research assistant to every block to knock on doors and that would take a long time and be prohibitively expensive, so we're hoping to engage the public in a fun contest to help find these lifesaving devices,” said Dr. Nichol.
The goal is to provide a map for 9-1-1 operators and eventually a smart phone app for the rest of us.
Alls, who works as the chief engineer at radio station KEXP, knows how critical it can be.
“I have an AED at work now as a result of that whole ordeal and I know it's not registered and I know the only people who know about it are the people in my building,” he said.
The scavenger hunt starts Tuesday and will last four weeks. Get the full contest rules here.