It’s estimated that 600,000 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the US each year and that 90% of those sufferers will not survive. Worryingly, more than half of these SCA cases occur out of hospital (OHCA).
The good news is that these figures can be improved with the increased availability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in everyday workplaces, such as schools and transport hubs.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the common workplaces where having accessible AEDs could save more lives – if you work at one of these places, can you afford to be without an AED nearby?
According to Occupational Safety & Health Administration, about 10,000 SCAs occur at work each year – still there is no current legal requirement for employers to provide AEDs in offices.
However, AEDs have been known to save lives in public places as well as offices. Having them readily available on site can save precious treatment time before emergency service personnel arrive, and can significantly improve survival odds. Therefore it should be common sense to have an AED in every workplace.
While SCA can happen to anyone; any size, height, weight, gender, age, or health condition, the risk of one is up to three times greater for competitive athletes while exercising in places like sports centers and gyms.
SCA occurs when a person’s heart starts to beat erratically, known as ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF can happen from a number of reasons, including a blow to the chest and overexertion while exercising. If defibrillation is not delivered within five minutes when this happens, the resulting effect can be fatal. This can be avoided if sports centers around the US could make AEDs more accessible.
Schools and Colleges
As we’re getting ready to wrap up another school year, it’s important to remind ourselves that SCA can strike at any time in people of all ages and fitness levels. Despite that, only 17 out of 50 states are required to install AEDs in schools.
This number is surprisingly low considering that more than 7,000 children die from SCA each year, especially when you take into account that defibrillation within three minutes of SCA can increase a sufferer’s survival rate to 70%. That’s why it’s critically important for schools and colleges to have AEDs readily available, and for teachers and other school staff to be taught basic first aid.
If you’re not convinced that we need AEDs on public transits, the following facts and figures may change your mind:
- Since 1995, public transportation ridership has increased by 30% in the US – higher than the 22% population increase in the same timeframe
- In 2017, Americans took more than 10 billion trips on public transportation
- We collectively board some form of public transportation 34 million times each weekday
Public transport operators can make changes to keep their staff and their passengers safer by having AEDs readily available.
Electric vehicles can generate electromagnetic fields, which when strong enough, could cause electronic heart devices like pacemakers to malfunction, which could have fatal consequences.
A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine showed that people with implanted cardiac devices designed to keep their hearts working smoothly may be able to safely drive an electric car. However, with the continuous and rapid changes in vehicle technology, it’s important to note that the results of this study may not apply to all pacemaker users and for all electric vehicles.
With the anticipated increase in supply and servicing of electric vehicles, car dealerships should consider providing all business locations with AEDs as part of their safety measures to ensure team members, customers, and visitors are safeguarded at all times.
Find out where AEDs should be placed in car dealerships.
SCA does not discriminate, and when it strikes, a life-saving shock from an AED – along with effective CPR – is the only definitive treatment.
Wherever you work, having access to AEDs is paramount in keeping you and people around you safe and giving you peace of mind so you can do your best work.