Bottom line: Automatic External Defibrillators save lives. Here’s what every Florida business owner needs to know
In October of 2017, Pick ‘N Save employees resuscitated a dying customer thanks to an in-store AED. A few years earlier, a 19 year-old Canadian man used an AED to save a little league baseball game attendee. Two teachers saved a student’s life at middle school in Texas thanks to an onsite AED in 2011. The Internet is flooded with stories of how automated external defibrillators (AEDs) made the difference between life and death.
According to OSHA, of the 6,628 workplace fatalities reported to their organization in 2001 and 2002, as many as 60% of them might have been prevented by onsite AEDs. The American College of Cardiology provides similar numbers: “AEDs in specific study locations like casinos and airports have shown high survival rates for patients with a shockable initial rhythm, ranging from 53% to 61%.”
So, why aren’t more businesses following the OSHA recommendation to install AEDs?
The pros and cons of on-site AEDs
Thanks to television and movies, most people are familiar with AEDs – they’re the “electric paddles” used to shock the heart back into rhythm. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. The “automated” aspect refers to what the device does prior to the shock: an analysis of the heart’s rhythm to determine if defibrillation is needed. Thanks to this automation, unnecessary shocks are virtually nonexistent.
Although complicated on the inside, AEDs can be used without extensive medical training, making their life-saving functionality accessible to anyone trained in their use and many who simply read the directions during an emergency. Despite this user-friendliness, there’s been some debate about their installation in the workplace.
Why some businesses are reluctant to install workplace AEDs
While the lifesaving benefits of AEDs are conclusive, in today’s litigious culture, very few issues are as simple as perhaps they should be. The following are some of the obstacles preventing business owners from making a lifesaving decision.
Safety concerns. There are worries about untrained bystanders to an emergency misusing an AED, such as on a child less than 8 years old, or under 55 pounds in weight.
Legal fears. According to the American Heart Association, companies and organizations are concerned about their liability for getting and using AEDs. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now include using an AED as part of their Good Samaritan laws. The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000 encourages placement of AEDs in federal buildings and ensures federal liability protection for those who acquire or use an AED to help save a life. In addition, this act provides limited immunity to persons using the AED and the purchaser of the AED device. These acts vary by state, but generally, they limit the liability of rescuers using AEDs and others involved in the AED program. Read the Good Samaritan Act for your state for more specific information and be sure to have your legal counsel and, if appropriate, your risk management or safety team review your program.
Why businesses should welcome AEDs
The legal concerns involving AEDs in the workplace are understandable – but only on the surface. Here’s why:
Training is inexpensive and quick. Concerns about AED safety shouldn’t outweigh the potential for saving lives. Many American Heart Association certified training facilities offer corporate training courses in both CPR and AEDs, thereby significantly decreasing the likelihood of misuse.
Liabilities are overstated. A vast majority of lawsuits involving AEDs are file for their absence rather than misuse. The overarching principle is that many cardiac arrest victims are already technically deceased or likely to die, therefore, AEDs aren’t known to cause further harm. In support of this view, the federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, along with Good Samaritan laws, provide limited immunity to those who attempt to use an AED to save a life.
South Florida AED programs
Once a business owner decides to install AEDs, it’s important to identify the proper unit for their location and a qualified training facility. One Beat CPR + AED has been providing AED and CPR training that’s as affordable as it is enjoyable for over 12 years. We offer individual as well as group courses, both at the workplace or in one of our state-of-the-art Florida training centers.
For more information on purchasing the right AED for your business, we encourage you to connect with us online, or call us at 954-321-5305.