A New Service

As we continue to talk to different churches, schools, and other organizations about teaching classes, some of the most common questions we hear realte to AEDs. As these are sophisticated electronic devices that allow us to save lives by providing an electrical shock to someone with a potentially fatal dysrhythmia, the reliability and performance of these seemingly-simple machines must be maintened at a very high level.

Here is an article that speaks to this: https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2014/06/01/Is-Your-AED-Ready-to-Shock.aspx?Page=1    

As you can see, a simple “install and forget” plan can create many challenges. During the last few weeks, we have examined several military, municipal, and private industry policies and in nearly every case, it wasn’t that a safety plan hadn't been developed, rather it was the fact that even though the AEDs had been installed correctly, they had not been inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Addiotnally, even though AEDs are designed so that nearly everyone can use them, proper training in how to recognize a cardic emergency is still essential. I can think of few more disastrous events than the inabiltiy of a fully-trained first responder to save someone’s life becasue of a dead battery. 

In 2000, Congress passed a law to address the challenge of providing early defbrrillation to indviduals experinceing cardiac arrest. Although this legislation containced a provision to extend the protection of the Good Samritan doctrine to anyone who pruchases or uses and AED, this protection only applies to those devices that are, “properly tested and maintained.” So, why do so many business owners beleive that just pushing a “test” button every will satisfy this requirement? Is it some sort of “hope plan?”  Is it because they felt that a manufacturer’s warranty was enough to help them avoid litigation? 

Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. In 2014, a lawsuit was files agianst a health club in New York alleging that the club, “failed to comply with certain provisions of New York’s AED laws with the most obvious being the requirement that AED owners “cause the automated external defibrillator to be maintained and tested according to applicable standards of the manufacturer and any appropriate government agency.” (http://www.sca-aware.org/blog/scafoundation/lawsuit-claims-two-non-working-health-club-aeds-led-to-member%E2%80%99s-sudden-cardiac-de).

So, what’s the takeaway here - three things:

1. Only buy AED systems from reputable manufacturer’s and authorized sellers

2. Design and implement an inspection and maintenance program that meets all applicable laws and regulations

3. Ensure that individuals within your organization are trained to recognize cardiac emergencies and know the location and proper use of the AEDs that you own.