OSHA encourages employers to provide AEDs in the workplace and advises that AEDs be considered for inclusion in workplace first aid programs.
“An automated external defibrillator (AED) should be considered when selecting first-aid supplies and equipment…With recent advances in technology, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are now widely available, safe, effective, portable, and easy to use. They provide the critical and necessary treatment for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)… All worksites are potential candidates for AED programs because of the possibility of SCA and the need for timely defibrillation.“
February is American Heart Month. Increase your awareness of heart health and encourage your workplace to prevent heart disease with a healthier lifestyle. Learn more!
What is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) simply means that the heart unexpectedly and abruptly stops beating. This is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF).
Is SCA the same as a heart attack?
No. A heart attack is a condition in which the blood supply to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked, resulting in the death of the heart muscle. Heart attack victims usually (but not always) experience chest pain and usually remain conscious. Heart attacks are serious and sometimes will lead to SCA. However, SCA may occur independently from a heart attack and without warning signs. SCA results in death if not treated immediately.
Who is at risk for SCA?
While the average age of SCA victims is about 65, SCA is unpredictable and can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Will I hurt the victim by using an AED?
When used on people who are unresponsive and not breathing, the Food and Drug Administration has found all AEDs available in the U.S. market to be safe and effective. Therefore the probability of harming an unresponsive victim who is not breathing is significantly outweighed by the probability of saving such a victim. An AED will not shock a normal heart rhythm.
The Zoll AED Plus® Defibrillator features Real CPR Help®, a tool that is able to actually see what you are doing during CPR and provides real time feedback on both depth and rate of compressions to help you do it well. Audio and visual prompts help you rescue with confidence and clarity unmatched by any other automated external defibrillator. View more information here.
Can I be sued for using an AED?
In the US it’s not possible to prevent being sued. However, most states have passed “Good Samaritan” legislation protecting the lay rescuer from lawsuits. Watch an AED demo!
Can I accidentally shock another rescuer or myself?
AEDs are extremely safe when used properly. The electric shock is designed to go from one electrode pad to another through the victim’s chest. Basic precautions, such as verbally warning others to stand clear and visually checking the area before and during the shock, can maximize the safety of rescuers.
How much of the victim’s clothing should be removed to carry out defibrillation?
The chest should be exposed to allow placement of the disposable electrode pads. A woman’s bra should be removed. Clothes may need to be cut off.
Why is it so important to be sure that the electrode pads are firmly adhered to a clean, dry chest?
Successful defibrillation requires electricity to flow from one electrode pad to the other through the chest. If the electrode pads are not firmly adhered and there is sweat or another conductive material between the electrode pads, the electricity will be more likely to flow across the chest rather than through it. This may result in less effective defibrillation.
Is it okay to place the electrode pads directly on a hairy chest?
Electrode pads must come in direct contact with the skin. If the chest hair is so excessive as to prevent good adhesion of the electrode pad, the hair must be removed quickly. The Zoll electrode pad package comes with a rescue accessory kit that includes a razor to shave chest hair if needed.
What if I’m not certain whether or not I need to use an AED?
Remember this rule: Only use an AED on someone you would do CPR on—unresponsive and not breathing.