An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a life saving device and every gym/fitness related facility should have an AED program and at least one defibrillator…
According to statistics provided by the American Red Cross there are 200,000 deaths every year due to sudden cardiac arrest, and about 50,000 of these deaths can be prevented if more people have access to what’s known as a Cardiac Chain of Survival that features the immediate availability of an AED.
An AED is a device that checks the heart’s rhythm for specific abnormalities and if necessary alerts rescue personnel to deliver an electrical shock to a victim. The shock – defibrillation – can help the heart to get back into the proper rhythm, and can save a life.
As opposed to the defibrillators most of you are familiar with from watching movies and television, and AED is totally automated and can be used by anyone who has undergone a simple certification process. Rather than the large hand-held paddles that are wielded by doctors, the AED – which is about the size of a laptop computer – uses two electrode pads that are attached to the victim’s chest.
Once these pads are applied and the AED is turned on, the machine monitors the victim’s heart rhythm to determine if a “shockable” rhythm can be delivered. If the AED detects the appropriate rhythm the machine will charge itself and alert the rescuer to press the button that delivers the shock. The machine will not charge and deliver a shock unless this “shockable” rhythm is detected, thus removing the element of user error from the equation.
AED training is simple and necessary in the context of this Cardiac Chain of Survival, which includes CPR, and will help rescuers to become familiar with a wide range of tools that will increase a victim’s chance of surviving an incident of sudden cardiac arrest and other life-threatening situations.
AEDs are now widely available in schools, airports, stadiums and other places where large groups of people gather. Given the nature of what goes on in a gym, facility owners have every reason in the world to make sure that they have an AED program in place, and have employees who are trained in the use of lifesaving techniques including the use of an AED. If you are unsure if your gym has an AED program or if you know that your gym does not have such a program, you should check with the management. Every gym should be equipped with an AED.