Greater Access to AEDs Could Save 40,000 Lives Each Year

What would you do if someone in your workplace suddenly collapsed?

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death among adults older than 40 – and it's a "healthcare crisis," affecting more than 300,000 people every year, according to the SCA Foundation.

Even the fastest paramedics could take eight to 12 minutes to get to a patient after he or she collapses. Quick access to an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, by an engaged bystander could increase the odds of survival from about 5% to 40% and higher.

What is an AED?

An AED, or defibrillator, is a small, lightweight device that allows quick-thinking citizens and co-workers to treat sudden cardiac arrest by delivering a shock to the victim's chest, ideally re-starting his or her heart. There is no danger of harming a patient who might not need defibrillation because an AED diagnoses dangerous heart rhythms and responds accordingly. AEDs are user friendly and even "talk" the user through the process.

National Safety Council provides a variety of superior courses to train laypeople to respond to breathing and cardiac emergencies, including how to use an AED and perform CPR.  NSC also has partnered with leading AED manufacturers HeartStart and Philips to provide employers a full line of AEDs and AED supplies.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, which usually is caused by an arterial blockage. SCA causes the heart to suddenly and unexpectedly stop beating, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A person with no signs of heart disease can suddenly pass out and appear lifeless. The survival rate outside of a hospital setting is only 1% to 5%, but the chance of survival increases considerably if they can be immediately treated with an AED.

Consider these statistics:

  • Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even those who are seemingly healthy
  • Between 300,000 and 400,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest in a non-hospital environment every year
  • SCA causes more deaths than breast cancer, colon cancer, motor vehicle accidents and diabetes, combined
  • For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by about 10%
  • The average time for paramedics to arrive once 911 is called is eight to 12 minutes
  • About 400 workplace deaths from cardiac arrest are reported to OSHA each year

More than 30,000 lives have been saved through National Safety Council CPR and AED training. Choose to train the way that best suits your organization, either at your workplace, in an instructor-led classroom or online.  These classes will give participants the confidence they need to respond to life-threatening situations wherever they may occur. Take a look at some of the courses offered by NSC.