“So You Have an AED… Now What?”
Fabulous! So you’ve taken a CPR training class, learned the importance of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in saving a life, and made the decision to purchase a unit for your organization. You understand that even if you have the most comprehensive emergency response program available, remember everything from your Annuvia training session (call 911, send a “flagger” to retrieve the Emergency Responders, check the victim for responsiveness, etc.), begin CPR immediately, and perform perfect CPR, the victim will only have a 3-5% chance of survival. Furthermore, you understand that your odds of saving the victim increase dramatically (to between 50-70%) with early defibrillation. You’ve weighed the pros and cons of the various AED models and found one that fits your budget, facility requirements, and personal tastes. So far, so good…now what?
- Knowledge. Unfortunately, AED programs are subject to a litany of requirements, regulations, and statutes which are not uniform in nature. This maze of uncertainty is further magnified when considering the legal implications of each site, facility, and AED location. Often times large organizations manage wide-spread AED programs throughout various jurisdictions and thus become subject to varying legal obstacles and the inefficiencies associated with fragmented management. Since every community has different program protocols, contact Annuvia to ensure you have the opportunity to view all applicable legal issues for each of the AEDs under management.
- Compliance. Now that you have had the opportunity to gather detailed information associated with the legal needs for each AED location, cross reference what is required by law with what is currently in place. Pay particular attention to common program elements such as: prescriptions, written emergency response/activation plans, 30-day AED unit readiness checks, local EMS notification, and the involvement of a Medical Director.
- Coverage. Perhaps the most neglected element of AED program implementation and management is the physical area covered by the AED units. It is imperative that you and your organization understand the necessity of maximizing the scope of coverage for your AED program and understand the risks and exposures associated with neglecting to provide adequate coverage for your employees, staff, and guests.
Frequently, organizations strive to create safer workplaces by implementing AED programs but fall short with their scope of coverage. Perhaps due to perceived financial savings, these firms neglect to adequately cover their facilities, and thus open the door to potential litigation and/or loss. Annuvia offers several types of services that can help in determining the requisite number of units for a facility. Briefly, however, the following rules of thumb should be kept in mind:
- Ensure that the AED’s electrode pads are placed on the victim’s chest within 3 minutes of collapse (a three minute round trip from the victim to the AED). This threshold should be maintained for all areas within your facility.
- Using typical speeds associated with AED retrieval indicates that to meet the aforementioned retrieval guidelines, an AED can cover a radius of approximately 200-300 feet. Therefore, in order to maximize the effectiveness of response, your firm should have one unit available every 200-300 feet.
- Ensure that obstacles and barriers such as stairs, elevators, cubicles, etc. do not inhibit your response. If you have multiple floors, place at least one unit on each floor.
- If you have any doubt or uncertainty regarding the scope of your program’s coverage, error on the side of caution and contact Annuvia for advice and recommendations.
- Documentation. Documentation of your existing program, program guidelines, goals, future implementation plans, etc. is essential. Write program protocols and document the decision-making process, rationale, future plans, conclusions, and findings. Documentation becomes even more critical while organizations are in periods of transition (such as during program expansion, feasibility, testing, and initial deployment).
- Implementation. Implement the protocols that were established during the Documentation phase. Begin by ensuring compliance of the existing program including, AED prescriptions, Medical Direction, EMS notification, etc, then transition to the next phase established during the Documentation phase (this may include program expansion and/or ongoing management).
Provide CPR/AED training for staff and employees. Ensure that a proper cross-section of employees has access to high-quality training sessions and that all staff and employees are aware of the AED program.
- Inform, Train, Inform. Make sure to send, post, and announce all vital program information to all employees and staff. The announcements should include information such as where your organization’s AEDs are located, what AEDs do, and how to access them during an emergency. Contact Annuvia to provide your staff with literature, email templates, and ongoing program protocols that will inform, but not overwhelm, your staff.
- Reassess, Inform, Repeat.
Has your organization grown or expanded? Have you opened a new office, or occupied a new floor? If so, has your AED program grown in unison with these market changes? Annually you should:
- Reassess your environment and review your protocols
- Inform all of your employees and staff of the AED program (including AED unit locations)
- Train your employees and staff in high-quality CPR/AED skills and how to respond during an emergency
- Review all online records to ensure proper monitoring and compliance for each AED unit and location
- Check in with Annuvia for industry news, updates, changes, etc.