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It’s likely that you maintain smoke detectors, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers in your business to prepare for emergencies. These are all important tools to keep your employees and customers safe. However, are you prepared for someone to go into sudden cardiac arrest in the workplace? Despite being one of the lead causes of death in the United States, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is not currently standardized by OSHA.
According to the Red Cross, more than 350,000 people each year are killed by SCA. It’s a disaster that can occur to any person, of any age at anytime. Generally, each minute that defibrillation isn’t performed after cardiac arrest can reduce the chance of survival by 7-10%. On average, it can take first responders 8-12 minutes to arrive on scene after a 911 call. See the video below for a real life example of just how vital a quick response can be.
As you probably are already aware, CPR paired with an automated external defibrillator (AED) is best way to restore a heartbeat. Chances of survival are 90% when CPR and AED are administered within two minutes of the event. Additionally, most people with no medical experience can operate an AED. It’s an excellent idea for any business or public place to keep an AED in a communal area for emergencies. It’s important that the AED is easy to see and access.
In addition to having an AED in the building, it’s a great idea to equip your employees with the proper training. For example, we offer a standard course covering first aid, CPR and AED training for employees. This training not only teaches your staff how to react to emergencies, but it also familiarizes them with the AED equipment and where the items are stored. For more information on how to maximize the benefit of your AED device, see this article from EHS Today.
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are often just the device needed to save the life of someone suffering cardiac arrest. For this reason, they are kept in most public places and private businesses. However, a new study finds that these life-saving devices are not always easy to get to.
Timothy Chan, a researcher at the University of Toronto, and his team of researchers looked at the cases of 451 Toronto residents who went into cardiac arrest within 100 meters of an AED — about a football field’s distance. One-quarter of the time, the devices were behind locked doors. They found that venues such as schools, office buildings, and recreational facilities with AEDs were locked during off-hours. Unfortunately, two-thirds of cardiac arrests in the study happened over nights and weekends.
It makes sense to lock doors when your business is closed, and most employers purchase AEDs with only employees in mind so storing behind those locked doors is only logical. If we could figure out a way to make more privately purchased AEDs available to the public, we might be able to make some serious safety improvements. Work is being done to solve these issues, such as an app that shows users where the nearest AED is or companies working to create weather- and vandalism-proof AED containers. One of Chan’s ideas is for banks to make AEDs available in ATM lobbies.
Of course, in order for these plans to be feasible the general public must have CPR and AED training to use these devices. At Cardiac Care & Safety, Inc, we make this training affordable, efficient, and convenient. For more information on the study mentioned above, check out this article from HealthDay.