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What is an AED and Why Should We Buy One?

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What is an AED and why should we buy one?  AEDs or Automated External Defibrillators are becoming a common presence in our communities.  They can be found in shopping malls, airports, schools, churches, and even in grocery stores.  In recent years, there has been quite a bit of media attention on the use of AEDs and their effectiveness in treating sudden cardiac arrest.  Whether there is a sense of “social responsibility” or mandate from a governing body, organizations have various reasons for installing AEDs and training employees in CPR and AED use.

An AED is a device that is used specifically to deliver electricity to the heart of a person who is suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).  SCA, if untreated by an AED and effective CPR, is fatal.  So why should you buy one?  Let’s look at some trends in the workplace and in our communities.

First, people are working until they are older.  With older aged employees in the workplace comes the risk of one of them having an SCA event.  With employees young and old, there may be health problems that nobody at work is aware of and that employee could have an SCA related event at work.

Second, people out in the community are sicker than ever before.  Patients are not staying in the hospitals when they are ill, they are going home to be cared for by family and in home health care providers.  These patients go to church, the grocery store, the mall and likely have multiple doctors appointments during the week.  Community based AEDs will help protect these patients in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.

Finally, we must think about protecting our kids.  There are many different youth sports organizations in operation today.  How many have an AED?  I can tell you that in my community, not many.  High-risk contact youth sports such as football, lacrosse, hockey, soccer and baseball have a high chance of a child suffering an SCA from a sharp blow to the left side of the chest.  Although not common, the outcome if not treated immediately is fatal.

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