How your organisation can help save a life

July 03, 2023

What can you do? Provide lifesaving equipment - AEDs

The importance of every organisation having an AED (automated external defibrillator) cannot be underestimated.

An AED is an essential piece of lifesaving equipment which can be used where an individual has a sudden cardiac arrest. This individual might be a work colleague, a visitor to your organisation, a passer-by or someone in the vicinity of your premises. Remember that sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, so receiving training can save a life of a family member or anyone, anywhere at any time.

Every AED should be registered with the National Ambulance Service. When a call is made to 999 or 112, the call taker can inform the caller where the closest AED is situated, therefore giving the best possible outcome for the patient.

Train your employees

Training should be provided for all who are interested in learning how to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest event. This involves how to perform chest compressions and the use an AED.

Training includes basic life support procedures, including chest compressions, managing a choking patient, performing ventilation and compressions and the use of an AED for a patient whose heart has stopped beating.

Even if not trained, a bystander can use an AED as it will give step by step instructions on its use, once is it opened and turned on. Therefore giving the best possible outcome for the individual in cardiac arrest.

How would you recognise when someone is experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest?

The symptoms include:

  • Not breathing or gasping noises paired with abnormal breathing
  • The person is unresponsive
  • The person is unconscious
  • The person has no signs of life

If you encounter an individual with the above symptoms, call 999 or 112 and designate someone to locate the nearest defibrillator and immediately begin Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). When you call 999/112 the call taker will give the caller instructions on how to perform CPR and will stay on the line with the caller until the emergency services arrive.

In a situation where an individual has a cardiac arrest – time is of the essence.

During cardiac arrest, a person’s chances of survival will decrease by 10% per minute where no resuscitation is being carried out. It is therefore time critical that you quickly access the emergency service, commence CPR and have access to an AED.

Where should AEDs be located

An AED should be located centrally, be easily accessible and visible. AED cabinets should not be locked as it delays access to the defibrillator. However, some AEDs in the community are locked and the access code to these cabinets is provided by the National Ambulance Service when the emergency call is made (if the defibrillator has been registered with National Ambulance Service).

Many sports complexes, schools, gyms and businesses locate their AEDs outside their premises. This allows public access to the equipment when the businesses or sites are closed.

In your business the device should be easy for a bystander to locate – whether or not they work at the facility. This means locating the equipment near landmarks with which everyone is familiar or can quickly find:

  • The entrance
  • The front desk
  • Beside an elevator
  • On several floors in large building

The device should be signposted with reflective arrows and label that says, “Automated External Defibrillator” and the cabinet in which an AED is placed is typically white, yellow or green with red. The device should be accessible in terms of not placing it too high up so that someone in a wheelchair or a child can easily reach the AED and deliver it to the first responder managing the cardiac arrest.

How can your organisation support the local community?

Your organisation can support your local Community First Responder Group (CFR), if there is one in the locality, by sponsoring equipment to the group i.e., kit bags, defibrillators and basic items required to respond, training equipment for the group i.e., training manikins and training AEDs, etc.

Review the CFR Ireland website for all information on CFR groups and relevant training.

Carol Kenna
Senior Executive
Ibec Networks