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Posted: 6/14/2010

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program is key to reducing the number of deaths that occur from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Our 7 step process based on the American Heart Association’s recommendations will assist any organization in implementing an AED program.

As a result of the American Heart Association, state legislation and notable deaths such as Tim Russert (Moderator of NBC’s “Meet The Press”), Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) awareness is at an all-time high. Therefore, many churches, schools, and corporations are proactively protecting their members from this deadly disease with Automated External Defibrillators (AED). While buying an AED does not guarantee every victim will be saved, it will substantially increase survival rates from 5% to 65-75%. However, in order to achieve maximum results, a comprehensive program must be implemented. Below is a list of steps to do so:

  1. Select a Program Coordinator:
    Accountability is the key to any project. Therefore, a single individual must be selected to implement the program and maintain it after initial deployment is completed.
  2. Get Decision Makers Support:
    In any organization, it all starts at the top. Therefore, in order for the program to gain notoriety and thrive financially, support from executive leadership is needed. Since most Decision Makers are subjected to large amounts of stress and long hours,
    SCA should be a concern for them and gaining support should be easy once the facts are presented.
  3. Review State & Federal Laws:
    Laws exist to protect people. Therefore, to implement an effective program, the Coordinator must familiarize himself or herself with the Laws that have been put in place to protect those who purchase AEDs and use them.
  4. Obtain Medical Oversight:
    As lay people, we may not understand the full scope of implementing an AED Program. Therefore, employing a Medical Professional to oversee program development, deployment and maintenance will have a profound impact on its success. Think of it as a “Technical Support Plan” for your computer. **In some states, Medical Direction and Oversight is a requirement**
  5. AED Selection:
    When selecting an AED, research and compare the features of different devices to find the one that best fits your organizational needs. If possible, work with a multi-line AED Distributor who can help you understand the key differences between the devices and consult on the selection.
  6. AED Placement:
    If I had to rank the importance of each step, AED Placement would be at the very top. Since AED and AED Cabinets are not the most attractive pieces of décor, many organizations try to hide them or unknowingly place them in inappropriate spots. However, in order to achieve the American Heart Association’s goal of three minutes from drop to “shock”, AEDs must be placed in high traffic, centrally located areas near other emergency medical equipment. In following this recommendation, the device will be very visible and easily accessible if a Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs.
  7. Training:
    All AEDs on the market today have clear prompts, which guide the responder through the save. However, as the old saying goes: “practice makes perfect”. Therefore, it is highly recommend that your entire organization attend a
    CPR/AED training course administered by the American Heart Association, American Red Cross or equivalent training organization. If training everyone is cost prohibitive, select an appropriate number of individuals to be designated as an Emergency Response Team and have them trained.

Once these steps have been completed, the real work begins. During the initial deployment, enthusiasm and interest will be extremely high. However, after training is completed and the AEDs are placed in their cabinets, most will forget that they exist. Therefore, the Program Coordinator will be responsible for keeping the program compliant and visible. Below is a list of ongoing AED Program responsibilities:

  • Monthly Inspections: Every month, the AED(s) must be inspected to ensure functionality. This inspection consists of checking the status indicator and the pad expiration dates (Adult & Pediatric). If the status indicator is “flashing” and the pads are within the expiration, the device is “Rescue Ready”.
  • CPR/AED Training: Depending on the training curriculum which your organization has chosen, training renewals will occur every year or every other year. Therefore, the Program Coordinator must track the renewals and schedule re-certifications.
  • Ongoing Awareness: As new members join the organization and old members forget, periodic AED reminders should be published. These reminders should include AED location, list of trained responders and protocol for responding.

Deciding to purchase an AED is a great decision and an excellent benefit for your members and/or employees but this decision cannot be validated without proper deployment. Therefore, it is essential that you follow these steps to ensure that if the time arises, your AED Program is prepared to save a life!

Contact AED-SHOP.com to find out more about implementing your AED program for your organization. AED-SHOP.com offers six of the top AED manufacturers. Our goal is to help educate the public about Sudden Cardiac Arrest and how AEDs can help decrease the number of deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

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