The Importance of AEDs in the Workplace
Each year, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is responsible for the deaths of 350,000+ people in the United States. To ensure the survival of a victim, it is of immense importance to administer instant CPR and defibrillation within 4 minutes of a collapse. However, with an average emergency medical services response time of 8-12 minutes, if a bystander does not assist in immediate treatment, an SCA victim will most likely die. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) – a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses cardiac arrhythmia and treats a SCA victim through defibrillation – enables a layperson to easily treat the victim prior to the arrival of medical personnel on site.
Why AEDs Are Becoming More Common
Increased awareness of various medical crises has sparked a new concern amongst communities: The need for life-saving medical emergency devices and procedures in place at establishments frequented by customers. Thus, employees and consumers alike are increasingly demanding businesses to have a variety of emergency safety devices on site, and trained employees present to accurately assist victims.
As CPR and first aid training become more prevalent in corporate America, so do AEDs. Every minute that CPR isn’t given during an SCA attack reduces a person’s survival rate by 7-10% (consequently, a 12 minute emergency response waiting period results in an 84%+ decreased chance of survival). When CPR is used, there is still only a mere 1-5% survival rate. However, when used within the first few minutes in conjunction with CPR, an AED can increase a SCA victim’s chance of survival by 49-75%.
These alarming figures, have spurred positive changes in the concept of corporate social responsibility and respective business practices. Proper AED training is becoming a standard of care, as companies are looking for new ways to see to the needs of their employees and clients. This has become such a high priority, that some courts might rule that not having an AED on site is a sign of negligence. Government officials have also realized this need, and have passed laws in some states which require AEDs to be present in health clubs, schools, and other businesses.
Maintaining the appropriate number of AEDs on site and developing a solid AED program can decrease liability and insurance premiums for a company. As new technologies continue to emerge, the cost of AEDs has also decreased and the units are more accessible and easier to use than in previous years.
Important Factors to Consider Before Starting an AED Program
Purchasing an AED and establishing a CPR and first aid training program is an important undertaking for any business. There are a variety of factors and concerns that must be taken into consideration to ensure that a new program will be effective. Some questions that should be asked are:
• What emergency response procedures are already in place? Are these programs sufficient for the demographic of the company? It is necessary to consider building size, average daily number of people present in the facility, and normal risk factors. A detailed evaluation of your company’s situation and current programs will reveal areas for improvement.
• What are the local and state regulations regarding Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) programs? The laws requiring AEDs to be on site in business facilities vary from state to state. It is imperative to research the current laws to ensure that the company is up to code. Either contact the local or state EMS authority, or notable PAD Programming firm (one that has rolled out many programs and has a solid understanding of medical-legal compliance).
• How many AEDs should be purchased? Conduct a site assessment to determine the appropriate number of AEDs that will be needed to comply with legal regulations. Typically, it is recommended that AEDs can be easily retrieved and placed on the victim in no longer than 4 minutes of a collapse.
• Is it financially feasible to purchase an AED and develop a new program? The cost of an AED varies between $1,100 and $1,800 per unit. Thus, it is highly beneficial to purchase the device from a company that offers assistance in developing a proper CPR and first aid training program. This will ensure that the program is created correctly upon first attempt, so that financially costly changes will not be needed in the future. While purchasing AEDs online is simple and convenient, it is important to note that many online retailers do not offer post-installation or program support.
• Is an emergency response team in place? It is necessary to designate a program coordinator and a team of trained employees to assist in on-site medical emergencies.
• How will employees react to potential changes? An internal, company-wide safety campaign is an effective way to communicate the new emergency response program, and to get everyone on board.
With just a little effort, any company can have the proper emergency medical devices and first aid and CPR training programs in place. If a company does not have an AED program in place, someone who goes into SCA will most likely die while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
Written by: Jennie Sikora, Marketing, Annuvia, Inc.