Does My Company Need an AED?

Question:
AED’s have been mentioned in safety demos and tutorials that I have attended. Does my company need one of these devices? If so, what type of training is needed in order to use it?

Answer:

The safety and well-being of your employees and anyone who visits your place of employment should be top of mind for all organizations. There are many tools and resources that can help with your organization’s first-aid and emergency preparedness, including an AED.

What is an AED?

An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator, which is a portable device that measures the heart’s activity and can deliver an electric shock in order to correct the rhythm of the heart. It can also restore a heartbeat if the heart suddenly stops.  An AED is meant to be placed in high traffic locations, and it is designed to be extremely simple for users to operate in times of an emergency.

According to the American Heart Association, there are roughly 350,000 cardiac arrests outside of a hospital setting each year. Cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops beating, and blood will stop flowing to the brain, lungs, and other important parts of the body. The person will typically lose consciousness very quickly, and they will die if normal heart function is not restored. Time is crucial in these instances since permanent tissue damage can occur within three to five minutes of loss of blood flow.  For every minute the body goes without oxygen, the chances of death increase by 10%. Over 90% of patients that receive a shock from an AED within the first minute of arrest survive.

A study recently published by JAMA Surgery showed that the average response time for emergency medical personnel was roughly seven minutes. This time could increase up to 14 minutes for rural areas. This study drives home the fact that the general public can play a critical role in saving lives if they are trained on the basic skills and tools to help those in their community until medical professionals can arrive. Having an AED in your workplace can play an important role in your company’s emergency preparedness and saving lives.

Where can I find an AED?

There are multiple resources that can help a company pick out the best plan for their AED purchase, placement, maintenance, and training. Make sure to ask the manufacturer or seller about the intended use, storage options, maintenance and training requirements for any AED being considered for purchase. Contact multiple reputable vendors to find the best option for your company.

What type of training does my team need for an AED?

AEDs are designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. They often have voice and visual aides to help in their function. Although emergency training is not required in many states, it is encouraged. AED storage and display is also an important factor to consider. According to the American Heart Association, over half of employees do not know where they can find an AED in their workplace. Create an awareness plan to ensure employees know where to find the AED in the case of an emergency. It is commonly recommended to place the AED near the entrance of your building so employees, as well as non-employees, see the device when they enter the building. It is a best practice to have the device marked with a brightly colored “AED” sign.

There are multiple national nonprofit organizations, including the Red Cross and the American Heart Association, that provide online and onsite training to prepare your employees for how to use AED devices. Many local first responder organizations, like fire departments and police departments, can help provide training as well. Be sure to reach out and find the best fit for your organization. Also consider factors such as the size of the company, the costs of the training, the timing of training, and how to create an ongoing training program to keep people up to date in the future.

 

strategic HR inc. understands your concerns with the well-being of your employees. We offer expertise in health, safety and security to cover any need you may have from analyzing your safety programs to making sure you are OSHA compliant to proactively ensuring employee wellness. Please visit our Health, Safety & Security page for more information on any of these services.