What do we mean when we say, “Just having an AED is not enough?”
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are life-saving devices that are crucial in a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Because these devices are so important, like in the scenarios you just saw, AEDs must be properly maintained and monitored, and the team must be empowered to use them.
Recognize the signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is often confused with other ailments, and most often with a heart attack. In the first scene, no one recognized the signs of SCA, so no one knew to start CPR, get an AED or call emergency services.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest survival is dependent on each step of the Cardiac Chain of Survival, beginning with calling 911. Without the ability to recognize that a person is experiencing SCA, and the knowledge to call 911, the first step in the chain is already broken.
Create a Culture of First Responders™ in your organization. Recognize the signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest versus other emergencies in the workplace, so your team is empowered to respond calmly and accurately.
AEDs need to be ready to shock at a moment’s notice. If the AED’s batteries or electrode pads are expired, the AED is not ready to save a life. The battery is needed for the device to have power to shock. The adhesive on the pads must stick properly to the patient to accurately deliver the shock, but this adhesive wears down over time. This maintenance is crucial.
The blinking red light.
All AEDs have visible readiness indicators. This could be a blinking red or green light, a checkmark, or a red X. This indicator shows whether or not the AED has failed its self-test. And if it has failed, the AED is not ready to shock. By employing remote monitoring, organizations receive alerts if the self-test has failed, so that the problem can be fixed and the AED stays ready to shock.
The AED is only as good as the person that knows how to use it.
Humans and technology must work together to save a life. A recent study found that when a bystander uses a defibrillator, on top of CPR, that patient’s 30-day survival improves, even when an ambulance takes just two minutes to arrive. Having a team that is prepared to perform CPR and use an AED is vital to the survival of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest victim. SCA can affect anyone at any time, it could be a team member, a vendor, or even a patron of your organization.