What Is an AED Machine?
An AED, or automated external defibrillator, offers life saving help to people experiencing cardiac arrest. The defibrillator machine analyzes the heart’s rhythm and then delivers an electrical shock to restore the heart’s proper rhythm.
While AEDs are very sophisticated medical devices, they are considered easy to use. Some states require businesses to have someone undergo medical equipment training. Some only “encourage” training. Even in situations where AED training or certification isn’t necessary, it is always a good idea. For one thing, it makes users more confident about their use of the defibrillator machine. The process might seem simple enough when it is just a part of the discussion, but when someone’s life depends on its fast and efficient use, it’s crucial to focus on the machine’s correct operation.
Which Businesses Must Have an AED?
There is no federal law that specifies the use of AEDs in the workplace. Rather, the laws and regulations mandating the use of a defibrillator machine occur at the state level. All 50 states have enacted laws, but they differ from one state to the next.
One common difference among state AED laws is the type of businesses required to keep an AED onsite. For example, dental offices that use anesthesia in Washington State must have and maintain an AED.
All 50 states require AEDs in places where large groups gather in public. This includes places like businesses, airports, shopping malls, hotels, schools, and sports venues. In New York, the requirements extend to public surf beaches. In addition to mandatory AED placement, these locations must also have trained personnel and follow a specific protocol.
Another difference among the states is the requirement for AED training. Your state might require AED training or certification for one or more employees. It might require medical oversight in addition or in place of training.
Once you learn your state AED laws and regulations, you can develop an effective AED program. This program includes a set of policies that make using the AED an organized and legal system. It helps deliver proper care when cardiac arrests occur. It also helps you defend your business in court if something goes wrong.
Why AEDs Use Is Expanding
The AED is used when a person experiences sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The heart stops beating suddenly and without warning. Blood no longer flows to the brain or other organs. Without treatment, death occurs within minutes. The more time that passes without treatment, the less likely it is that the person will survive. The reason that states continue to add laws and regulations mandating AED placement and use is that a defibrillator saves lives.
Risk Factors for SCA
V-fib, or ventricular fibrillation, is the cause of most SCAs. This is a type of arrhythmia that occurs when the ventricles in the lower heart don’t beat normally. The two lower ventricles quiver rapidly and irregularly, causing the flow of blood into the body to slow or stop.
Other heart problems and some diseases can lead to SCA. The biggest risk factor is for people with ischemic heart disease. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize until they have an SCA event that they have ischemic heart disease or other risk-increasing heart conditions.
Older men, especially those who are Black and who have underlying conditions, have a greater risk of SCA. Other risk factors include:
- A personal or family history of SCA
- Inherited disorders that increase the risk of developing arrhythmias
- A personal history of arrhythmias
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Sudden cardiac arrest is not a rare condition. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation explains that it is a major public health crisis. Every year, there are more than 356,000 cases of SCA. In adults, SCA occurs most often in a home or residence, a public setting, or a nursing home. Thousands of SCA events occur in the workplace.
SCA can happen to anyone of age at any time. Everyone from children to seniors is impacted every year. Sports-related SCAs account for a large percentage of children who experience SCA. The risk of sports-related SCA decreases with age.
Are AED Defibrillator Machines Right for Your Business?
One way to approach the use of AED is to determine which laws and regulations apply. But AED use shouldn’t be limited to meeting compliance. Considering the prevalence of SCA and the serious impact AED treatment has on those impacted, an AED machine and AED training for any business is a good idea.
Creating an AED plan can increase the chance of survival for your employees who experience heart-related emergencies. The more employees trained to use the defibrillator machine, the better your chances are of providing the necessary care in the short period of time you have.
How Does Liability Work with AED Use?
Compliance with your state’s AED laws is one way to protect yourself from liability. If you fail to provide the AED required, you might be held liable for an employee’s or patron’s cardiac death.
People also worry that they might be held liable if they do use an AED and the person doesn’t survive, but Good Samaritan laws help protect anyone who acts in good faith during an emergency.
Like the laws that pertain to AEDs, those relating to Good Samaritan also differ from state to state. Learn how your state interprets the Good Samaritan law with regard to AED use. In most cases, users must receive AED training and the AED machine must be maintained and tested.
AEDs are often used in combination with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR training might be part of your state’s AED or Good Samaritan laws. It is also a good practice for any business that wants to make its workplace safer. AED & CPR training also helps people learn to recognize signs and symptoms of SCA.
Professional AED Products and Training at EMC CPR & Safety Training
EMC serves as a one-stop shop for specialized emergency medical training. Our option for hands-on training at your location aids in meeting compliance and helps prepare your employees for emergency situations.
Contact us today to learn more about:
- CPR Training
- CPR Certification
- Onsite CPR training
- First Aid Training
- BLS Certification
- AED Certification
- BLS for Healthcare Providers
- Bloodborne Pathogens Training
- AED Defibrillator Machines
- AED Medical Direction and Oversight
Make sure your AEDs and your employees are ready when you need them. We are here to help you meet your safety goals.
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