Providing an AED in the workplace is one thing — training your employees is another.

AED Training: A Life Saving Investment

Health & Safety Safety

AED training can be a life-saving investment. You’ve supplied an AED device in the workplace, but how do you secure training for your employees?

Automated external defibrillator, or AED, training may help you prepare your employees to protect each other at the onset of a cardiac arrest. According to the Federal Occupational Health (FOH), a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency tasked with Improving the health, safety and productivity of federal employees, “over 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. Up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented if an automated external defibrillator had been available and someone had initiated the Cardiac Chain of Survival, immediately at the time of the emergency.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest to be between 1 to 5 percent. OSHA’s numbers are also higher: The agency estimates the number of annual deaths related to sudden cardiac arrest is between 300,000 and 400,000 with most of them occurring outside a hospital.

AED Training

Having an AED is an important first step to preparing your workplace for emergency situations, but you also need to properly train your employees on how to use it. Trained employees tend to respond faster, and faster response times save lives. According to the American Red Cross (ARC), “the average response time for first responders once 911 is called is 8–12 minutes. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival reduces by approximately 10 percent. Fortunately, with CPR/AED training, which takes just a few short hours, you can gain the skills necessary to help save a life.” When employees are properly trained, they typically are empowered to take effective action and do so by following established and proven protocols. The best save rates are reportedly achieved within three minutes of the sudden cardiac arrest event — there’s no time to waste figuring out what to do with an AED.

The two organizations that lead the way in terms of creating AED training programs are The American Heart Association (AHA) and the ARC. Proper AED training can help you increase your staff’s skills and confidence in the use and care of AEDs.

The Countdown Begins

Imagine this: One of your employees suddenly collapses. An AED and CPR-trained colleague notices; minute one. She calls your emergency number and for the delivery of the closest AED unit; minute two.

She knows exactly what to do and proceeds without hesitation according to the AED training you provided her. The AED unit calls for a shock. “Stand clear,” the AED unit advises. “Delivering Shock. Stand clear!” A shock is delivered, then another. Suddenly, your employee responds; minute three. Ten minutes later, emergency services arrive and take over. Your trained employee just saved a life. This account and others like it happen every day across the U.S. and the world. Training your employees on how to use the unit can be a lifesaving investment.

Remember that having an AED is just the first step. Consider offering your staff proper training, and establish a formal AED program within your facility.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr.
J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CSP, is the CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC and a global Fortune 100 senior manager. Rodriguez was honored to be selected by EHS Today Magazine as one of "The 50 People Who Most Influenced environmental, health and safety in 2012-2013" and "2014 - 2015."