What is an AED?
An Automated External Defibrillator is a life-saving machine used when someone has a sudden cardiac arrest, an event whereby the heart falls into an abnormal rhythm, incompatible with life.
The defibrillator, when used in conjunction with CPR, can save lives! It administers an electrical charge to the heart, to try and encourage it to return to a normal rhythm. These form part of the "Chain of Survival," a series of events which must happen if a sufferer of SCA is to survive.
AED's are designed to be fool-proof. Many ambulance services run schemes placing AED's in the community, both as part of PAD schemes (public-access-defibrillation, basically AED's being placed in public places), and in community first responder schemes.
Virtually anyone is able to use an AED - they talk the operator through exactly what to do. Even the Resuscitation Council UK state that the use of AEDs should not be restricted to trained people. Read their stance on the issue here.
Translate This Page
AED`s in the Workplace
Statistically 5% of all Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA's) will occur in the workplace - 100 people every week in the UK alone! Whilst there is no specific legal requirement for employers to provide defibrillators in the workplace there is an increasing likelihood that this may soon change. In their most recent guidelines (2005) relating to the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED's) in an out of the hospital environment, the Resuscitation Council states:
"The Resuscitation Council (UK) strongly suggests a policy of early attempted defibrillation"
The guidelines also point out that with every minute of delay from the onset of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) to defibrillation; the chances of survival diminish by 10%. After 10 minutes the chances of survival are almost zero. For optimum survival rates as part of the chain of survival, defibrillation should occur within the first 4-6 minutes following a SCA, after this time brain damage begins to occur.
With the average response time of emergency services in the UK being 10 minutes, the big question is:
Where is your nearest AED?
Can you afford to be without one?
Most objections to purchasing an AED seem to be financial.
Not unlike a sprinkler system in a building or a fire extinguisher, the device provides extreme value in a critical moment. Consider the key employees in your organization - how many are over the age of 45? How would your company be impacted if they died tomorrow at work? How much time and money would be spent in locating a replacement? How would productivity be affected by the loss a critical teammate? How will management be perceived by deciding not to invest in a device that costs less than a laptop computer, a device that could have saved an employee's life?
Unfortunately many purchasers of AED's have already had a workplace event that moves them to see the need and value in having these units available. It is human nature to base our assessment of value and risk on our experience. If your workplace has never had a cardiac arrest event, the perception may be that the unit may not be used or needed. Unfortunately, this method of risk assessment is flawed.
Does SCA really happen in the workplace?
Yes - sudden cardiac arrest can strike virtually anyone - man or woman, young or old - anywhere, anytime and often without warning. In fact, 13 percent of workplace fatalities are from sudden cardiac arrest. Many factors in the workplace can increase the risk of SCA or limit the timely delivery of potentially lifesaving defibrillation therapy:
If an SCA occurs at work, isn't it the responsibility of the emergency services?
Helping to save lives is a shared responsibility. A corporation's "in-house" emergency response program should complement, not replace, the existing first aid procedure. Working in partnership with EMS, a company's first responders can help keep a victim alive for EMS personnel to treat when they arrive. Training employees in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of AEDs can minimize time-to-defibrillation when every minute counts. For the best chance of survival, a shock to the heart should be delivered within the first 4-6 minutes. The likelihood of successful resuscitation decreases by approximately 10 percent with every minute that passes. After 10 minutes without defibrillation, few attempts at resuscitation are successful. Sadly, the average response time for emergency medical services in a typical community is greater than 10 minutes. AEDs can be strategically placed within a workplace, similar to the convenience of fire extinguishers, so that responders have immediate access to this potentially lifesaving equipment.
Why should my company purchase a defibrillator?
The person that collapses in the work place is most likely to be a witnessed arrest. In this case early defibrillation would increase survival rates from less than 5% to more than 50%.
AED's IN THE COMMUNITY
It is a shocking statistic that Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) kills over 2000 people a week in the UK alone. At least 12 of these will be young people. 80% of these arrests occur out of hospital.The known risk factors for SCA parallel those of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), and include age older than 45 years, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and inactivity. Emotional stress has also been shown to be a trigger for sudden cardiac events.
The role of activity as a trigger for SCA may be minimal, though this continues to be debated. In some cases exercise may precipitate an attack, yet in a study of SCA in Holland, 67% of victims were physically inactive at the time of the event.
A host of undetected cardiac problems exist within any sizeable community and there are many causes of SCA which may go undetected.
The only effective form of treatment for SCA is rapid (within 4-6 minutes) defibrillation using an Automated External Defibrillator or AED as part of the chain of survival.
With average response times of the emergency services being greater than 10 minutes without an AED close at hand the chances of survival are almost zero.
In communities with access to an AED, prompt defibrillation puts survival rates at over 50%. "First Responder" initiatives exist to assist communities in working together to offer potentially lifesaving help for those who suffer from a SCA. For further information regarding existing first responder initiatives you can visit www.respondersuk.org or www.heartrhythmcharity.co.uk.
AED's in public places:
Can help direct you to set up such an initiative and offer ideas for fundraising in your community to facilitate buying a lifesaving AED.
We can also provide. CPR & AED Training