Guide To Installing An AED In Your Business
Guide To Installing An AED In Your Business
by Greta Kviklyte
Life Saver, AMC
Co-authored by Kim Murray, RN, M.S.
posted on Apr 5, 2019, at 10:18 pm
Implementing an AED program empowers staff, passersby and trained professionals to save lives outside of a healthcare facility. Depending on your industry, deploying such a program may reduce liability, provide peace of mind to your consumers and prevent tragedies. Furthermore, a defibrillator program demonstrates responsible business ownership, increasing brand value. However, implementing a program is more complex than simply purchasing a device; the program is the most important tool to expand your businesses capability to provide life-saving support for those that suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).
During implementation, care must be taken to find the right defibrillator for your business. Owners must review local laws, proactively manage the risks of making a device accessible, ensure employees have the right training and more. The risks will always be worth the trouble, and in fact, those that follow these steps can ensure program success and save lives too.
What Industries Benefit From an AED Program
The short answer is simple; all industries will benefit from implementation of a defibrillator program. However, some industries are more likely to utilize the device due to an increased risk of suffering 0HCA. As explained by BizJournals, these industries and businesses include:
- Industries where people work closely, including offices and factories. Heavy and industrial machinery can result in tragedies in the workforce. If an incident does occur having a device nearby for use to be the difference between life and death.
- Transportation providers also have a duty to ensure the safety of their consumers, and as transportation providers, they may be among the first to recognize the stress and passersby as well.
- Construction companies and those managing outdoor worksites are subject to the risk of a lightning strike or other injury, such as that caused by animals. As a result, implementing a program that takes the device with workers, such as placement in worker vehicles, can lower mortality risks.
- Healthcare clubs, fitness units, gymnasiums and cafeterias for employees should also deploy programs. Remember among people with undiagnosed chronic illnesses, the risk of a cardiac event is higher, notes the Mayo Clinic.
- Remote locations where access to emergency medical services within an expected amount of time is not possible, such as construction projects, maritime vessels, energy pipelines, and off-shore drilling rigs.
- Educational institutions, which may be required by state or local regulations already have a program in place. However, private institutions may not be subject to the same regulations governing the use of and access to funding sources.
- Shopping malls and retailers are other places where deployment of a program can save even more lives. Incidents may occur in any area where people congregate, so implementing a program and shopping malls, retail centers, restaurants and other service-oriented businesses will aid those in need.
Key Steps to Implementing a Successful Program
Implementing a successful defibrillator program is a complex and detail-oriented process. Businesses that are considering installing a program should follow these steps to make it successful.
1. Determine Whether a Defibrillator Is Necessary
This is the most important step in installing a defibrillator program in your organization. Businesses may opt to implement a program for a variety of reasons, but the underlying reason– saving lives—must be a top priority. The biggest issue companies face is the decision of whether a program is necessary. While a defibrillator can save lives, it is not always a best practice to install one in each building, site or location. Depending on the size of your business and profit margins, such processes could easily rack up thousands in costs, if not more than $100,000, inclusive of training and program development costs. As a result, it is essential businesses take a comprehensive look at whether a defibrillator is truly necessary and how it will improve the experiences of employees and consumers.
Ultimately, a defibrillator is a great way to reduce risk of mortality from a cardiac event. However, it is not a program that should implemented simply for the appearance of safety. Such programs have detailed needs and requirements that are much more involved that a status symbol. If a program is right for your organization, the next step will help you begin the real work of installation.
2. Work With a Physician or Other Experienced Healthcare Professional to Develop an Implementation Program and Timeline
Depending on your location, physician supervision and guidance is necessary to implement a defibrillator program. Some states do allow for non-physician support in developing a program, but the burden of responsibility for ensuring proper adherence to local standards and statutes falls to each business owner. Therefore, it is essential to work with an experienced healthcare professional that understands the complexities, risks, and best practices in implementing and deploying a defibrillator program. Furthermore, working with the physician ensures your organization takes these additional steps during implementation and throughout the life of your program:
- Document Everything. Proper documentation is essential to reducing your liability for injuries or other unintentional harm caused by defibrillator use. In addition, documentation is necessary to maintain compliance with applicable laws and ensure all likely users, i.e. employees, understand how to use the device properly.
- Maintain Your Devices. Developing a written plan for maintaining your defibrillators is another vital step in installation of such programs. Determine when batteries, pads or wires should be replaced, and create a way of validating such replacements. For instance, using a notepad within the device’s case to track replacement is a great way to track these actions.
- Use Proper Signage. When a program is installed, it lacks value if passersby do not know where it is located. Even in your secured facilities, employees that have not yet completed defibrillator training may need it. As a result, it is important to specify signage rules for implementation within the program materials and how to ensure all potential users know where to access the device.
3. Decide on the Type of Device to Purchase
There are many different devices that you may purchase for use. Certain defibrillators may resist drops, dirt, water or other elements, and some are designed to withstand falls or other potential risks.
For example, implementing an AED in a location where heavy machinery and equipment is used may be subject to multiple conditions around-the-clock, as well as when an emergency occurs. Furthermore, the type of device purchase may vary based on location, such as a fully-automated system, which delivers a shock automatically or semi-automatic systems that require user intervention to deliver shock.
4. Choose a Location for the Device(s); Ensure the Device Is Away from Child Access
Implementing a device program can lead to a higher risk of injury if used improperly. This includes accessing the device when an emergency does not exist or allowing children and passersby to “play” with the device. However, the legal liability for implementation of a device is minimal, reports Markel Insurance. The key to keeping this liability in check lies in ensuring a comprehensive program that adheres to all applicable standards, best practices and concerns that may present a risk to those in your facilities.
5. Register Your Location for Emergencies
in addition to reviewing local laws and statutes governing the implementation of a defibrillator program, it is important to notify the local EMS department of such implementation. Even in areas where notification is not mandated by law, such notification can help struggling departments ensure communities have adequate access to life-saving measures. In addition, each person that recognizes your location as a place to obtain a defibrillator for emergencies will be more empowered and able to help others when emergencies occur.
6. Conduct User Training for All Possible Parties, Especially Employees
Proper user training is a crucial aspect of installation. Although most automated devices do not require any real training to use, knowing how to use the device in advance will save lives. Think about it; no one has the time to read an instruction manual when an emergency arises. Therefore, companies should conduct or pay for employees to attend an appropriate AED training course. [JV4] This may also be a requirement under current laws for your area. Furthermore, maintain records of certification for use and review during program audits and maintenance.
7. Train Staff on Other Potential Emergencies
The prepared staff member is more-apt to jump into action when an emergency arises. In addition to preparing for the risk of cardiac arrest, businesses should train staff on how to respond to other emergencies. In today’s world, these emergencies may range from active shooter scenarios to wildfires, as well as extreme weather events. Staff should know how to respond to each potential issue, including evacuation routes, safe zones, lockdown practices, emergency supplies and much more, says Ready.Gov.
8. Expand Service Capabilities With CPR and First Aid
another effective way to improve the capability of staff members to respond to emergencies is to complete training that goes beyond simply using a defibrillator. For example, completing training for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid will help employees learn how to provide immediate care to people that may have additional injuries, up to and including heart problems. It’s also important to create a First Aid Kit during this phase or consider purchasing one. Ultimately, this expands the service capabilities of your team
9. Integrate Defibrillator Program Materials With Disaster and Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Plans
As explained by Phys.Org, the U.S. has endured more multi-billion dollar disaster in recent years than any other time in history. While some costs are attributable to the increased value of property, the biggest issue remains; disaster prevalence appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. Even areas with a lower risk of severe weather and natural or manmade disasters are starting to feel the effects. Meanwhile, cascading disasters—those that only grow in severity or contribute to subsequent disasters—are increasing in tandem. Unfortunately, people with underlying medical illnesses may have a higher risk of OHCA when such events occur. Thus, integrating your AED program with existing disaster preparedness and recovery plans should be a central step in implementing such programs. This ensures your team members and customers understand your willingness to help during such events.
10. Use the Program to Add Value for Your Customers
Your public relations strategy in installing a defibrillator is the final step in implementation. After all, the best-laid plans for implementation will still is passersby and others in your community do not know about your program. Furthermore, implementing a program adds brand value to your organization, putting staff members’ and consumers’ fears at ease when doing business with you and your team. As part of your public relations strategy, business owners should also solicit feedback from community members and consumers. Such feedback may include feelings about defibrillator implementation, questions, ways to find out more information regarding its use and impact on current activities. Ultimately, the program is a great way to get more customers in the door and interested in what you do.
Get Started With Your Program by Learning How to Use the Device Properly
A defibrillator program is only one aspect of true emergency preparedness in your business. However, before you decide to install a program and go through the process of ensuring its success, consider enrolling in a life-saving training program for yourself first. You’ll see the ease and fast-paced nature of utilizing a defibrillator and how it can mean the difference between life and death.
If you already have purchased a defibrillator, it is not too late to go back through the steps and make sure you do not overlook anything. Otherwise, if you have previously implemented a program and have any tips to add to the conversation, share them with this article to social media now.