It has been 3 years since I retired from the fire department and it was an amazing journey. Since I have retired, I have not had many reasons to respond to a medical emergency. In June of 2019 was one that I won’t forget…
I attended an event with about 50 people, and as the crowd started to disperse, in the corner of the room came a snorting, choking sound. I turned to see an elderly gentleman leaning back in a chair gasping for air. Another bystander in hospital scrubs and myself approached the gentleman and began to assess and assist. We quickly lowered him to the ground and checked for breathing and pulse. With the scene being safe, we checked responsiveness, initiated someone to call 911, and get an AED… and this is why I am writing this blog.
I was the one who told another bystander to call 911 and in the same breath started to say, “and someone get an AED!” However, I stopped myself short as I knew the building did not have an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). I felt so helpless and angry at the same time as I knew how important an AED would play in this scenario. The reason for my angry… I had personally spoken to management about investing in an AED, and now in an emergency and without an AED.
What I am about to say may shock many people, but CPR primarily does not work by itself. That is why the Chain of Survival is mentioned in training… call 911, provide compressions, use of an AED, the arrival of EMS, and finally hospital care. It all works together! In a previous post, I mentioned the incident in Minnesota where bystanders did 96 minutes of CPR and it wasn’t until EMS arrived and provided Advanced Cardiac Life Support that the person was revived and lived!
Simply put, AEDs save lives. So, let me quickly dive into 5 reasons why your company should own an AED:
1. About 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur at work.
2. AEDs are designed for anyone to use.
3. AEDs are designed primarily to shock ventricular fibrillation.
Of those that experience sudden cardiac arrest, 9 out of 10 people will die while waiting for emergency medical personnel. In our local jurisdiction just outside of Washington DC, our normal response time is 5-7 minutes, which is a lifetime for both the rescuer and patient.
4. AEDs are designed for anyone to use.
Many different AEDs are available and ready to use for non-medical bystanders
5. AEDs are designed primarily to shock ventricular fibrillation.
That is a very small window of opportunity where an AED can come into play and getting one onto a patient as soon as possible is vital. AEDs are lightweight, portable, compact, battery-operated, safe, and easy to use.
CPR and AED training with proper placement of an AED along with an AED Management system can mean the difference between life and death.
Administering compressions provides the two most important reasons why we are seeing higher savior rates. First, as you compress on the chest you are circulating oxygenated blood through the body. Second, every time you push on the chest, you are pushing air out of the mouth and every time you recoil from that compression, the air is brought back into the lungs. You are providing blood circulation and breathing for that patient.
CPR has changed over the years and the focus on compressions plays an integral part in preparation for using an AED. Check your workplace and locate your AED!
Oh, I almost forgot… our patient survived!