So You Have an AED, Now What? Ensure Your Program Meets These Three Pinnacles
Purchasing a life-saving Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for the home or workplace can be one of the most valuable and rewarding purchases you’ll ever make. Due to the fact that all FDA approved AED units have long, multi-year battery and electrode pad life expectancies, AED units provide protection and assurance for years to come. But, even though AEDs are incredibly safe and easy-to-use, routine maintenance and training should complement all well-managed AED programs.
“Being responsible for tens of thousands of active AED unit programs of all sizes gives us a unique, candid view into the day-to-day challenges faced by AED owners and program managers,” states Micah Bongberg, President of Annuvia, the developers of Arch and a national American Heart Association CPR/AED training company. “Unlike any other organization, including the AED manufacturers themselves, on a daily basis we have visibility into how real AED programs are, and should be, managed in order to be ‘rescue ready.’”
Annuvia breaks AED program management into three primary buckets: hardware, software, and training services.
Hardware: At the essence of an AED program lies the AED unit itself
While it often steals the limelight, the physical AED unit is, perhaps, the easiest part of running a well-managed AED program. With the New Year around the corner, take a moment to do a quick inventory of all your AEDs. Make sure each AED has a battery that is in proper working order and electrode pads that aren’t beyond their expired date. Furthermore, the AHA recommends AED units be equipped with two sets of electrodes, so order a second pair to make sure you’re prepared. You should have a CPR/AED rescue kit with each AED as well, so you have the confidence that you’ll have what you need, when you need it!
Software: As critical as your AED’s battery. After all, if your battery is dead, so is your AED.
“On a daily basis we receive hundreds of calls from AED owners across the country, many of whom need to place rush orders for new batteries and electrode pads because they discover their current products are not in working order,” states Kathy Justinak, Director of Customer Care at AEDSuperstore.com, the world’s largest AED distributor. “We worry about how many AEDs are in the field and non-operational, especially when there are tools, like Arch, to prevent these situations from occurring.”
Arch is a software program to help AED owners earn their state’s Good Samaritan liability protections. Arch tracks important expiration data, sends readiness alerts, registers AED units with 911 dispatch centers and EMS agencies, and even offers ongoing oversight from experienced medical doctors. Deployed your AED? No problem! Arch sends you a loaner AED (same make and model) by next day air so you’re always protected.
Ach is the most advanced software of its kind. “We’ve taken a Silicon Valley programming approach to the AED industry. For instance, we recently added a feature that allows our customers to perform (manufacturer required) monthly AED readiness checks by simply replying ‘OK’ to a text message. All data is organized and stored on our secure site,” states Bongberg. “Arch is the perfect tool for large and growing AED programs where AED owners are finding that managing their programs on Excel is burdensome, time-consuming, and frequently unreliable.”
Services: Learn How to Use What You Have & Meet State Laws
Now that you’ve no-doubt checked your AED unit to make sure its in full-working order and setup your Arch account to help with your state’s Good Samaritan laws, its time to evaluate your CPR/AED training program. “We recommend that our customers train approximately 10-20% of their staff in CPR and AED training. Since we train groups to the American Heart Association standards, all course participants receive certification cards that are valid for two full years.”
Annuvia’s training programs are offered nationally and all instructors are full-time healthcare providers with years of experience responding to medical emergencies. “Our customers learn by doing and learn from the best, many times the very people that arrive when they call 911,” states Bongberg.
Aside from meeting state requirements, CPR/AED training is a best practice, as its important to keep skills fresh and personnel aware of the importance of their AED. Since Annuvia operates on a national basis, customers with large offices are able to save money and time through economies of scale. “Our mantra is: ‘One invoice. One point of contact. Nationally.’” Annuvia’s sweet spot is in working with their customers by looking into the future to examine what they need before they need it, so that they can prepare and budget. Whether its replacement AED equipment and accessories, CPR/AED training, or Arch, Annuvia provides a clear glimpse regarding what can be expected. “There’s always a sense of relief when our customers have a clear picture of what their future purchase might be, no matter how many AEDs they have. When they deliver one purchase order at the beginning of the year and know that all products will be shipped prior to expiration and all training sessions will be setup and delivered by our experienced instructors, our customers exhale and we know we’ve done our job.”
The fact that Annuvia’s rates for hardware, software, and training services are some of the lowest in the country is icing on the cake.
“Of course every program is different and all organizations have different budgets and resources available to them, but if AED owners acknowledge and adhere to the basic guidelines of hardware, software, and training services, individual AED owners, as well as full-time, global AED program managers will have safer, more risk averse programs, thereby increasing the probability of saving a life when an emergency strikes.”
Contact Annuvia today to learn more about how your program can be improved or what you might need in 2014 to be as prepared as possible. Mention this article and take $100 OFF your next group training session….