Why Don’t You Have an AED?
Defibrillators are saving lives in all sorts of places.
Every 12 minutes, someone in Canada suffers cardiac arrest. That’s over 40,000 people each year. The vast majority of arrests happen away from health care facilities. And the grim fact is, less than five per cent of victims will survive.
The key to treating most victims of sudden cardiac arrest? Automated external defibrillators. AEDs, as they are commonly known, are electronic devices used to identify cardiac rhythms and, when necessary, deliver a shock that will correct abnormal electrical activities in the heart. AEDs are able to assess the victim and will only advise the rescuer to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm that can be corrected by defibrillation. If the heart is beating normally, they cannot deliver a shock.
For every minute of delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by seven to 10 per cent. After more than 12 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, the survival rate of adults is less than five per cent. As a result, AEDs have made big news in the past few years.
Defibrillation can improve these survival rates by 30 per cent or more if conducted within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest. In fact, defibrillation combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can increase survival rates to 50 per cent or more.
AEDs are safe, easy to use, and can be operated effectively by non-medical people. Many responders and lay rescuers have effectively used AEDs in public settings, including workplaces and golf courses.
One example: Three weeks after an AED unit was installed in a York Region Veterans’ Association meeting place, it was used to revive a client who had collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. If the same event had happened a few weeks earlier, the outcome would likely not have been a happy one.
What’s stopping you? And make sure people in your workplace know CPR.