The ABC'S of an AED!
Every second counts when you are a bystander witnessing a cardiac arrest emergency. You will often need to find and use an AED quickly in order to optimize the patient's chance of survival. But what if you can’t locate the AED in your workplace or building? What if you begin to use it, and then discover that the batteries have expired? The chances of survival decreases by 7-10% for every minute that passes without defibrillation and CPR. If a bystander cannot quickly locate an AED, the results can be detrimental.
But just just having an AED isn’t enough! You need to be able to locate the device, start using it quickly but properly, and rely on it to be in good condition. The ABC's of an AED can help you ensure that AEDs are readily available, locatable, and functional. Subsequently, should a sudden cardiac arrest occur, you are prepared and knowledgeable.
So what is an AED? An AED is an automated emergency defibrillator (AED) which is a lightweight, portable electronic device that can be used in cases of sudden cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest, the heart is no longer functioning correctly. It stops pumping blood to vital organs, including the brain. An AED will restore a regular heartbeat and help the heart start pumping blood again by delivering an electric shock to the heart and resetting its electrical system.
The use of an AED is a simple process. An AED provides voice prompts and processes that are automated to ensure that users have the highest possible probability of success.
However, it is important to remember that there are various things to manage the AED to ensure optimal use. These factors include battery life and condition, device location, and compliance with your state’s laws. The management of the AED allows you to coordinate all of this information and make sure everything runs smoothly. Ultimately, solid AED management helps ensure that your residential building, office, or facility is safe to be in!
B-Benefits of Maintaining AED.
The management of the AED can allow you to consider your location’s legal specifications and help you follow the rules. For example, Texas requires that at least one AED is present on each school campus and, for any gathering of a substantial number of students, the AED and an employee trained in AED must be readily available. Additionally, students must receive CPR training once in grades 7-12. At least one AED is required at each dental office, nursing home, convalescent facility, and pediatric extended care facilities, and at least one employee trained in CPR/AED must be on site. You can find out more about Texas AED requirements in the full Texas Health and Safety Code here.
Second, it is important that the AED be functional. An AED that is damaged or one that has expired parts might not work as quickly as an AED in good condition. Unfortunately, this inoperability could result in the loss of a life. For example, did you know that AED batteries can expire within 4 years? Or that AED pads can expire as well? Understanding teh ABC's of your AED can allow you to track the various expiration dates and battery condition, so that you can avoid the terrible situation of being stuck with an inoperable AED right when you need it most. Lastly, you can also establish reminders to make sure devices are replaced before their expiration dates and that all equipment is completely up-to-date.
C. CPR Certification Classes.
The last key component of AED management is AED user training. Despite AEDs being fairly simple to use, AED training can make a significant difference in the successful operation of an AED. When in a medical emergency people often panic and are less likely to follow proper instructions. AED training will allow you to feel better prepared to properly use the AED in the event of a medical crisis. In Help-A-Heart CPR’s Certification Classes, we instruct the proper use of the AED, the various AED components, while also conducting patient simulations while using the AED. Remember that every second matters and practice will help you make the most of your time and act with confidence.
Learn more about the ABC's of AED management with Help-A-Heart CPR.
At Help-A-Heart CPR, our quest is to encourage awareness and knowledge of emergency care. AED management is just one of many ways that you can be proactive about safety in your home or workplace. Feel free to contact us or give us a call at (210) 380-5344. We’re happy to help!
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.