Let’s start with what is an AED? Why would I use one? When Would I use one?
What is an AED?
A.E.D. is an Automatic External Defibrillator, this device is used to restart the circuit breakers of the heart when they have been damaged due to electric shock, drowning, heart attack, stroke, or anything that may have stopped the heart from beating.
Sometimes they are used in conjunction with drugs but they are always used with CPR this is why it is so important to learn CPR and the use of an AED together when you take a CPR and First Aid class. I’ll never teach CPR without showing my students how to use an AED too.
Why Would I Use An AED?
There are many reasons why an AED would be used but they all boil down to cardiac arrest. Defined as the heart muscle is at rest. In other words the heart stopped for whatever reason, you have to get it going again. CPR alone has less than a 20% chance of regaining a life sustaining heart rhythm. An AED is used to reset the circuit breakers of the heart, so to speak. When the heart stops or is in a rhythm that isn’t beating well enough to circulate the blood around the organs and brain, for whatever reason, the AED uses an electrical shock to put the nerves in the heart that control the heart beat back into a life sustaining rhythm. So first while you wait to get the AED you need to start CPR as the AED arrives this will take priority. The first thing you do, is turn it on, it will tell you what to do every step of the way after that.
When would I use an AED?
An AED is used when someone needs CPR; you ask when do I do CPR? CPR is done when you find someone who is not breathing. Always check the scene for safety, look around make sure whatever caused the person to become unconscious isn’t going to also hurt you. Tap the person on the shoulders and shout are you ok, try to get them to respond. If they don’t respond at all, get someone to call 911 and get a first aid kit and an AED if one is available. If you are alone, go get one yourself return very quickly, if you do not have a phone to hand. put the phone on speaker after calling 911 and turn on the AED. Sometimes opening the lid of the AED turns it on, sometimes you have to push a button. Generally, it is very obvious how to turn it on. After that, the machine will tell you what to do. Most AED’s will have LED lights and pictures to show you where to place the pads, you will need to remove the clothes, to place the pads on the victims’ chest. Make sure they are not in a big puddle of water, make sure there isn’t a lot of water or sweat on their chest.
Is there liability to having an AED?
As always you should consult your insurer and/or your counsel however, more and more they are becoming required. In 2017 California Senate bills 287 & 658 California required all new buildings built after January 1, 2017 to have an AED in the building. To that end the courts and the state has made it easier for companies, schools, and other entities such as churches to have an AED by removing requirements such as medical oversight and on site trained personal. This meant that more businesses would keep the life saving devices on their premises in the event of an emergency. It is always recommended to confer with your insurer to understand what your policy requirements are.
Do I need an AED for my business?
The answer is yes, if you have people in your business, especially the general public. Three questions as a business owner or building manager you should ask yourself.
- Do I have people of all walks of life in my building and/or business? An AED is used for more than someone having a heart attack, any time someone’s heart stops, be it from an allergic reaction (bee sting or eating something they weren’t aware they were allergic to), Stroke, or drowning)
- Do I have a pool or hot tub on the premises? I highly recommend all Apartment complexes and HOA’s have one at their pools. Even private residences, the quick use of an AED on someone who isn’t breathing after a drowning can mean the difference between a tragedy and a cautionary tale about one 4th of July weekend. Do you own a boat you take out on the lake for the weekend? You should have an AED on that too.
- How large is the building I am in? How many people are here? You truly need to know how large of an area you need to cover to get from the victim to the AED and return it should be less than 90 seconds from any point. For instance, the AED is in the security office, but Joe has just collapsed at lunch in the staff room kitchen. They are on opposite sides of the campus. Can you get from Joe to the AED and back in less than 90 seconds? If the answer is no then you need to consider having more than one AED. This is where having a professional come in to help you determine the best number and placement of your AEDs.
I do offer Phillips HeartStart AED’s they are the industry standard AED. Please call for a consultation and pricing on an AED for your business.