Setting Up an AED Program
The AHA strongly encourages organizations to implement AED programs to increase the chances of survival of those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest.
All worksites are potential candidates for AED programs because of the possibility of sudden cardiac arrest and the need for timely defibrillation.
Each workplace should assess its own requirements for an AED program as part of its first-aid response. According to OSHA, among the issues to consider in setting up a worksite AED program are physician oversight; compliance with local, state and federal regulations; coordination with local emergency medical services (EMS); the creation of a quality-assurance program; and the performance of periodic reviews.
Key steps to setting up an AED program at your workplace include:
Getting medical oversight. The FDA may require a physician’s prescription to purchase an AED. The physician’s role varies depending on the program’s size and other characteristics. Responsibilities may include signing off on or making recommendations on training plans, policies and procedures; evaluating AED data recorded during an emergency; and helping assess each use of an AED to recommend improvements.
Working with local EMS. Most states require employers to coordinate their AED program with local EMS and to provide follow-up data to EMS after the device is used. In states that require registration or application for AED programs, the physician or program coordinator completes this process.
Making sure program support is available. Some AED manufacturers provide help with program implementation and ongoing support. They can assist with placement, medical authorization, registration, training and supplies. Review your capabilities and determine if services like these would be helpful in implementing your program.
Placing your AEDs in visible and accessible locations. Being locked away or inaccessible does a rescuer no good. An effective AED response delivers a shock to a victim within three to five minutes after the person collapses. Use a three-minute response time as a guideline to help you determine how many AEDs you need and where to place them.
Developing a training plan. AED users should be trained on the device and in CPR. AED training can increase responders’ comfort and confidence level. Many safety organizations, such as the AHA and the American Red Cross, offer CPR and AED training.
Raising awareness of the program. After implementing an AED program, provide information to all employees about it. You may want to use internal newsletters, magnets, signage or other means to promote the program and identify where the devices are located. There is significant reliable support information concerning the use of an AED but just putting it up on the wall isn’t enough. People need to know how to effectively use it and training is an essential part of the process.