Incorporating AEDs into overall training

June 1, 2008
We work to ensure our employees are ready for an emergency by providing regular training and refresher courses. What is the best way to incorporate automated external defibrillators into an overall training regimen?

Answered by Anastasia Mironova, senior marketing manager, defibrillation, Cardiac Science Corp., Bothell, WA.

Take two initial steps to best incorporate AEDs into an overall training regimen. First, consult your organization's medical emergency response plan and the state and federal regulations that apply to you. Then, consult the American Heart Association or American Safety & Health Institute guidelines on the frequency of retraining and reapplying lessons. A program that includes AED preparedness should be certified by at least one of them.

Your employees may ask, "If AEDs are so easy to use, do we need formal training to use them?"

The answer is yes. While AEDs are easy to use, and most people probably could use one with minimal training, the user still needs to recognize the signs of sudden cardiac arrest. Employees must learn when to activate the EMS system and how to comfortably perform CPR. Because every second counts in a sudden cardiac arrest situation, a trained employee arguably could execute the chain of survival faster than an untrained one.

After AED training becomes part of your plan, pick a management system that will integrate with your general emergency preparedness planning and training schedule.

Keep in mind: some AED deployments are more complicated than others. Factors include the number of facilities in your organization, the type of work your employees do and your turnover rate. A Web-accessible program management system can help maintain facility contacts, AED inventory, locations, serial numbers and expiration dates.

You can also use program management services to maintain training rosters, certification dates and employee training records. Look for a system that sends e-mail reminders to schedule training updates or order supplies.