What is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor), of the 6,628 workplace deaths that occurred in 2001 and 2002, 1,216 were the result of heart attacks, 354 were from electric shocks, and 267 were the results of asphyxia. OSHA further believes that as many as 60 percent of those deaths might have been preventedif AEDs (automated external defibrillators) had been quickly accessible. The more minutes that tick away, without assistance, during a cardiac event; the lower the odds of survival become. The bottom line is that these small portable electronic devices save lives.

Benefits of AEDs in the Workplace

Regardless of how close in proximity your local EMS is, it still takes time for them to arrive on the scene — or at your workplace — when called to take care of a heart attack victim. Some estimate that it takes six to 12 minutes for a EMS to respond. Every minute that a heart attack victim isn’t defibulated, can decrease the survival time. Within the three minutes from “drop to shock” guideline, clearly an automated external defibrillator is vital.

AEDs in the Workplace Concerns

While most people have seen the commercials where the vibrant young basketball player had his life saved because of fast access to one of these devices in the gymnasium where he was playing, most businesses have not yet decided to make the investment in one of these devices. Some fail to do so out of fear for the potential prices or training involved. Some are concerned about opening themselves up to potential legal liabilities as a result of having the equipment. However, these concerns, as significant as they may be, mean very little compared with the potential good they represent as well.

Legal Concerns – Sadly, these concerns are valid. However, the U.S. has what are called Good Samaritan laws. These laws were created in order to encourage people to render the best assistance they know how to give without fear of legal repercussions for doing so unless gross negligence in the actions can be determined. In other words, you can’t get sued for trying to help someone out simply because you have not experienced adequate training.

Price Fears – The good news for small business owners is that the costs of these life-saving devices are not prohibitive. In fact, they are low enough at $1,200 – $3,000 per device, that the average small business owner and large business owner alike can enjoy the benefits of having these devices if ever the need arises.

Training Worries – The last concern is also hardly the least. Training is important for the proper use of any equipment—especially life-saving equipment. The problem for you is that you’re skilled in whatever business you happen to be involved with. That’s what you know. You’re not a trained medical profession and really have no desire to be—at least without a matching salary. The good news for you is that many AED companies include training in with the administrative costs of ownership.

Where Should You Place AEDs?

Placement is important when you’re considering AEDs for your business. The optimum response time is within three minutes. This means that the device(s) need to be placed where fast response is possible for everyone involved in the business. Other things to keep in mind is that the devices need to be located in an area where electrical devices are widely used, in locations that are convenient for workers who need the treatment, and in areas where cardiac events are likely to occur such as cafeterias and fitness centers.

The bottom line is that AEDs can change the story for you, the people who work for you, or the customers and clients who buy or use your goods and services. It can take away a potential tragedy and give you a happy ending instead. That alone should be enough to convince you to make the investment in an AED. After all, what kind of price can you place on a happy ending like that?