SCA or Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Every year hundreds of thousands of people die when the heart stops or enters a fatal rhythm. CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can buy vital time for emergency responders to arrive with more advanced life support equipment. However, the survival rate with CPR is still abysmally low. Few people make it to the emergency room and fewer survive discharge.
AEDs can greatly increase survival rates
Not only do more people survive when given prompt treatment with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), but they have a better recovery. Not too long ago AEDs were limited to doctor’s offices and other medical settings. Now you can find them in malls, grocery stores, schools, and on airplanes.
Modern AEDs are extremely simple to use
Most offer voice direction through every step of the process. The machine explains how to apply the pads to the chest of the person, and then analyzes the heart rhythm to determine if applying electric shock will be helpful. These machines are very accurate and will not apply a shock if it is not needed so don’t be afraid to hook someone up if you are in doubt.
The newest models will also walk you through performing CPR if the heart rhythm is not shock-able. No longer are the life-saving devices only for medical offices.
You don’t even need to get a prescription from your doctor
Many businesses purchase these for the safety of employees and any potential customers. Prices have now decreased to the point where a home AED is viable. Even if you don’t have a heart condition remember that many people who experience sudden cardiac death never knew there was a problem. The best way to be prepared is to have an AED on hand. If you have to wait ten or twelve minutes for a paramedic to arrive and then assess the situation it’s likely too late for them to save your life. Having an AED on hand can make all the difference. You don’t even need to get a prescription from your doctor.
Which AED device should I get
Consider purchasing something like the Phillips Heart Start Home Defibrillator. This is the unit our office has and I was able to see for myself how important having one of the devices on hand is.
It was just another day at the office when Steve (in his 40s), one of my colleagues from our sales team suddenly collapsed with no warning. The first witness panicked and didn’t know what to do but another guy from our office immediately picked up the AED and applied the pads on my coworker. The machine gave clear voice instructions for where to place pads and warned everyone to step away before it gave an electric shock. After one shock my coworker’s heart restarted. We were all very relieved. Then, just moments later his heart went out again. The device was able to shock him once more and get his heart working. After a few weeks in the hospital and some recovery at home he is now able to get back to work! If the AED had not been on hand I think it’s likely that he would’ve died.
It totally shifted my perspective, witnessing something so serious as this and I can only imagine how grateful Steve is to our company’s safety officer who had decided to get the equipment even though it’s not obligatory by law.
While AEDs like the Phillips HeartStart Home defibrillator are still somewhat costly they have greatly decreased in price. If you have a medical condition that affects your heart your insurance may pay for an AED.
However, even if you have to pay out of pocket these devices are well worth the money. For under $1500 dollars you can provide life-saving treatment. Larger offices may need to invest in a commercial grade AED but even these are not that expensive. If you do have a medical condition you may be to write off your out-of-pocket expenses for an AED on your taxes. Businesses can consider the cost of an AED a business expense and also deduct it from their taxes.
Don’t be afraid to use the device
Many people are afraid of using one of these devices and causing harm the fact of the matter is you are very likely to save someone’s life if you follow simple directions the AED gives you.
AEDs were designed to be used by almost anyone, in any situation, during what is likely to be an extremely stressful event. Considering that many people do not even know CPR, the instruction provided by the AEDs can be very useful even if it doesn’t deliver a shock. If you are nervous about using AED and have one in your home or office consider taking a class or purchasing an instructional DVD.
If you get a chance to practice and familiarize yourself with the device before you have to use it are more likely to use it correctly when it counts. If you’re purchasing one of the units for your office is a good idea to train all of your workers in the use of the machine. You never know who might need help. My coworker was a seemingly healthy man in his 40s who no one expected to have a heart condition. Our office now has an AED installed in all the office workers are trained in its use.
I hope you never have to use it but with all the people going in and out I feel a lot better that if someone had a problem we can help.