Saving lives with an AED
The presence of automated external defibrillators in the workplace can be a lifesaver if a co-worker becomes unresponsive or suffers cardiac arrest.
When an AED is brought to the scene, halt CPR and again check if the victim is breathing. If not, have a trained individual use the AED with the following steps, outlined by the National Safety Council:
- Position the victim away from water and metal. Place the AED near the victim’s shoulder and turn it on.
- Expose the victim’s chest, and dry or shave the electrode pad area, if necessary (A razor should be included in the AED kit.)
- Apply pads to the victim’s chest according to the placement diagram. Be sure to check the cables are plugged into the unit.
- Make sure you and other bystanders are clear of the victim during a rhythm analysis.
- Follow the prompts from the AED to either press the shock button or immediately give CPR with the shock pads in place, starting with chest compressions.
- Again, be sure everyone stands clear of the victim for a rhythm analysis.
- Continue steps 5 and 6 until the victim moves or professional rescuers arrive on the scene to take over.
- If the victim moves, check for breathing. Place a breathing, unresponsive victim in the recovery position:
- Extend the victim’s arm over his or her head, and position the other arm across the chest.
- Bend the victim’s leg at the knee.
- Put your forearm under the victim’s shoulder with your hand under the hollow of the neck.
- Carefully roll the victim away from you. Push on the flexed knee and lift with your forearm while your hand stabilizes the head and neck.
- Once in position, check the airway and open the victim’s mouth to allow drainage.
The council recommends every workplace have at least one individual trained in CPR and AED use. All employees should be made aware of who has received this training so they know who to contact in the event of such an emergency.