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In a study conducted by the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), less than four percent of more than 31,000 sudden cardiac arrest victims (SCA) were treated with an automated external defibrillator (AED). In recognition of February as American Heart Month, and to ease fears and increase the use of AEDs,
Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS), a leader in first-aid and safety personal protective products (PPE), has highlighted five myths associated with the devices.
“Because of a series of misconceptions about AEDs, many facility managers either fail to see the urgency of installing and using these devices, or they fear them for liability reasons,” said David Bingham, Director of AEDs and Training, Cintas. “By addressing some of the myths associated with AEDs, our goal is to help ensure that individuals and organizations understand the importance of using AEDs to save lives.”
The five myths associated with AEDs include:
1.AEDs create liabilities – Although they vary by state, Good Samaritan laws exist to protect laypersons acting in good faith, even when the individual cannot be revived. In addition, organizations can help protect themselves from liability by implementing a comprehensive AED program that includes ongoing service checks and maintenance to make sure all devices are fully charged and working properly long after installation.
2.Medical personnel will arrive in time –Organizations often rationalize that an AED isn’t necessary because emergency medical services (EMS) will save the day. But in high-traffic urban areas or in rural areas, where EMS have to travel long distances, having an AED onsite can mean the difference between life and death. In a study conducted by STAT PADS, an independent provider of medical direction for AED programs, among 64 SCA incidents reported at Cintas customer sites in 2011, the average response time for EMS was nearly nine and half minutes, whereas onsite first responders with AEDs averaged about five minutes.
3.AEDs may unintentionally shock a victim – AEDs are designed to shock only individuals suffering from ventricular fibrillation, or an abnormal heart rhythm. The unit analyzes the victim’s heart rhythm and will advise the responder to apply a shock only if this condition is met.
AEDs are not intended for laypersons– On the contrary, AEDs are designed specifically with laypersons in mind. Featuring voice guidance and, in some cases, LED screens with show-and-tell features, the devices walk first responders through every part of the rescue process. Although organizations with AEDs are encouraged to train employees to use the units, anyone can follow the AED’s guidance. The ReviveR™ View AED from Cintas offers step-by-step video instructions for preparing the patient, connecting and applying the pads, delivering a shock and providing effective CPR.
5.Buying an AED online is sufficient – Purchasing an AED online, instead of through a first-aid and safety provider, is like receiving a prescription without expert medical direction. As well as complying with laws and regulations that accompany the purchase of AEDs, organizations must correctly install the units and maintain them over time to improve chances of survival for people suffering from SCA. A comprehensive program handles these tasks and ensures that replacement pads are available. Exemplary programs also analyze event data stored within the unit after an SCA incident occurs to assess whether additional training is required or the AED’s location should be changed in order to improve response time.
“We come across many organizations with AEDs still in the boxes in which they arrived,” said Dana Miller, Executive Director, STAT PADS. “Like organizations without AEDs, organizations with devices that aren’t installed and maintained are rendered helpless when an SCA emergency occurs. We hope that with more education about AEDs, laypersons and organizations will be more inclined to use them to save lives.”