Originally posted by United Benefit Advisors (UBA).
If you’ve ever taken a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course, then you know how critical response time is to saving the life of the person in distress. According to an article by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM.org), several studies have found that for each minute of untreated cardiac arrest, the probability of survival decreases by 7% to 10%. While CPR is an extremely valuable technique, sometimes it’s just not enough. That’s where having an automated external defibrillator (AED) onsite could mean the difference between life and death. An AED is a medical device that’s used to restore the natural rhythm of the heart. It does this via an electric shock and is one of the best emergency treatments during sudden cardiac arrest — when the heart, without warning, abruptly stops beating. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine states that survival rates as high as 90% have been reported when defibrillation occurs within one minute of a person collapsing from sudden cardiac arrest.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that approximately 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests happen in the workplace every year. It’s the leading cause of death in the workplace, yet only 4% of the seven million businesses in the U.S. have an onsite AED. The lack of an AED in the workplace is a shockingly (pun intended) sad statistic. The national survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest is less than 7%. However, if an AED is used in conjunction with CPR, that survival rate skyrockets to more than 70%!
- Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
- Early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions
- Rapid defibrillation
- Effective advanced life support
- Integrated post-cardiac arrest care
Finally, should a company decide to install an AED, here are some simple guidelines:
- Worksite integration: Not all employees will want or need to be trained on how to use an AED, but they should all be prepared to notify company personnel who are trained and emergency responders if an employee suffers sudden cardiac arrest.
- Selecting the right AED: While all the devices on the market work, it’s still important to comparison shop like you would for any other product and also buy one that’s appropriate for the environment in which it will be placed.
- Placement: Consider the logistics of where the AED might be used. Don’t buy 10 AEDs if you only need five to be effective. Proper planning can reduce expenses while increasing effectiveness.
- Maintenance: Like any piece of safety equipment, AEDs require maintenance. If a company has a specific person or third party that monitors its other safety equipment, then this is an easy add-on to the list.
- Training: There are two types of training — initial and ongoing. Besides teaching employees CPR and AED skills, it’s equally important to have refresher courses and to educate people on how to apply these life-saving skills in an emergency situation.
Investing in an AED, and the programs associated with it, is a commitment to protect the lives of those in the workplace.