A 12-year-old boy collapses at a basketball game from sudden cardiac arrest. The crowd swarms around him and someone starts CPR while someone calls 911. Ten steps away, an AED sits waiting and ready inside a shiney white metal cabinet hanging on the wall. No one thinks to grab it and the AED is never used. The boy is still in intensive care almost 4 weeks after his collapse.
It’s tough! I know! You make a decision to purchase an AED…you find the right one for your facility….it may have included FREE CPR training….everyone is pumped to learn CPR and how to use and AED. The CPR class is big and everyone is happy for the CPR training, but two years later…when it’s time to renew the CPR training, you’re reminded about that thing on the wall that you haven’t thought about since the day it was installed; the AED. It’s been there for two years…never been used, and no body’s even been sick enough to call an ambulance for in two years. Its hard to justify the cost of the CPR re-training. Its hard to get that momentum built back up. The CPR training, which was initially so important and is required every two years, isn’t so important anymore. I get it! But that doesn’t make it right.
The American Heart Association’s new guidelines stress the importance of staff CPR training where AEDs are deployed. Sure, the idea is that anyone…regardless of training….can pull that AED off the wall and use it. However, I hear countless stories of AEDs NOT USED because people forgot they were available OR they felt too uncomfortable using them because they were scared. Refer to the story above.
First of all, remember that Philips AEDs are not scary. You press the green button to turn the machine on and the gentle and helpful voice walks you through the rest of the way until the EMTs come. It will not deliver a shock on a victim who does not NEED a shock. You can’t mistakenly hurt the victim or yourself.
Secondly, if you don’t renew your CPR training every two years, you WILL feel uncomfortable using it. You will forget the things I mentioned above about being scared.
Lastly, if the victim needs it and the AED doesn’t get used for either reason listed above, the survival outcome of that victim is grave. You would have been better to try SOMETHING than nothing at all.
So please, if you are planning on purchasing an AED in the future, or you are one of my clients who purchased an AED from me in the past, I will be contacting you relentlessly about renewing your CPR training. Whether you get it from me or some other properly trained instructor, you must get it done!
Other things to consider about your AED maintenance, every two years:
Check the pad expiration dates; they are typically only good for two years. You should be checking the “Ready-for-Use” light monthly, if not do it now!
For questions about training or AED pad replacement, please contact:
Jennipher Wilson, EMT
Vital Education and Supply, Inc.
116 Shawnee Lane, Loda, IL 60948