Automated External Defibrillators are commonly known as AEDs. You’ve probably heard a lot about these devices over the past few years.
Chances are you’ve also seen them in many of the places you go every day. Think of your gym or grocery store, sports stadiums, your church, movie theaters, shopping malls, the airport—and the list goes on. Maybe you already have an AED in your workplace or you’re considering getting one. Read on to learn why it’s a great idea.
So what is an AED?
What does it do? Why do they seem to be everywhere? And why might your company want to invest in an AED and training?
An AED machine analyzes a person’s heart rhythm and delivers a small electrical shock if the heart needs it. Similar to the defibrillator you’ve seen on hospital drama television shows, an AED is a smaller, portable version that’s designed for laypeople to use. Instead of big metal paddles like the ER doctors use, an AED comes with sticky foam pads to place on the patient’s chest. You’ll also yell “clear!” like the medical professionals and people on TV. But unlike traditional defibrillators, commercial AEDs talk users through each step.
Most importantly, an AED will only deliver electricity when it detects the heart is out of rhythm or not beating. Arrhythmia, as it’s called, happens during heart attacks and other cardiac emergencies. The electricity from the AED shocks the heart back to a steady rhythm.
When someone is having a cardiac emergency, using an AED gives them a better chance of surviving. While CPR will circulate oxygen throughout the body, it’s not enough. The heart needs electricity delivered by a defibrillator.
AEDs save more lives than CPR alone.
The stories and statistics don’t lie. If an employee or customer at your company has a heart attack, they’re much more likely to survive if treated quickly with an AED. In fact, when you provide CPR and use an AED before EMS arrives, 40 percent of victims survive. Compare that to the national average of just 10 percent.
American Airlines recently celebrated the fact that they saved 76 people in just the first 10 years since installing AEDs on their airplanes. That converts to an overall survival rate of 63 percent. Chicago O’Hare has a survival rate of 64 percent when their AEDs have been used, and some casinos report rates as high as 70 percent.
Why should your workplace have an AED?
- The sooner an AED is used, the higher the odds of living through a heart attack. After someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival begin to diminish by seven to ten percent with every passing minute. Having quick, easy access to an AED can help you save that person’s life.
- Learning how to use one is easy. Anyone can use an AED, and proper training makes people more confident in using one. AEDs are designed with three simple steps: Turn it on, listen to what it tells you to do, then do what it tells you to do. Many AEDs also guide the rescuer on how to perform effective CPR.
- You can’t shock someone whose heart doesn’t need it. Remember, AEDs are designed for everyday people to use in everyday situations, so they are built to be safe. An AED carefully analyzes the victim’s heart rhythm before determining if a shock is needed. The machine will not deliver electricity unless necessary, meaning you cannot accidentally shock a person who doesn’t need it.
- It’s always better to be prepared. Every day in the US, approximately 2,160 people suffer a heart attack—that’s one person every 40 seconds. The chances of someone having a cardiac emergency at your business may be higher than you think. Being prepared for that emergency with an AED and training could save a life.