Added comfort

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my office when my desk phone and cell phone began to ring simultaneously. For me, that means only one thing, and caller ID confirmed it: “911 Alert.” I picked up the receiver and listened to the brief message, then did what I’m trained to do – ran to a glass case on a nearby wall that contains an automated external defibrillator and first aid kit, grabbed the items, and went quickly to the location where the automated voice said someone at the National Safety Council was in distress.

Others had gathered at the location: members of the NSC medical emergency response team, to which I belong. The call turned out to be a false alarm – a misdial by a new employee trying to access an outside line. My heart was still pounding from the adrenaline burst as I walked back to my office, feeling thankful that everyone at NSC would go home well that day.

Under the direction of Barbara Caracci, director of program development and training for NSC First Aid Programs, the team trains and performs timed drills several times a year. Although the council’s headquarters has a fire station located close by, it’s an added comfort to know that an AED and first aid assistance will be at the side of a distressed person in less than two minutes. Does your workplace offer employees the same comfort?

In this issue, associate editor Thomas J. Bukowski talks with Caracci, who helps NSC members looking to exceed OSHA’s requirements for first aid. In the article, she offers recommendations for AED placement and creating response teams.

As you’ve probably guessed from Caracci’s title, NSC sells training on first aid, CPR and AED. But I’m sharing my story with you because I sincerely believe in the need for such training in the workplace – and outside it. I know a widow whose husband had a fatal heart attack at home and who is haunted by the thought that, had she known how to perform CPR, she might have saved his life. Empower your employees so that whether they’re on or off the job, they never experience the same anguish.

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