Most people know that a defibrillator is the only treatment that can reset the heart into a pumping rhythm after a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a heart emergency that can happen to anyone at any time. So, where should AEDs be placed in order to make sure they are rapidly available to bystanders providing emergency assistance? Here are some tips on how to determine priority areas for defibrillator placement.
High-Risk Activity Locations
Certain activities that place stress on the heart can trigger a SCA, so it is prudent to place an AED in facilities and areas where these activities take place. Examples of these locations include gyms, fitness centres (especially those catering to a more senior population), sports clubs, stadiums and adventure or extreme sports venues.Other locations would include high-risk or high-stress work environmentor those where strenuous physical activity is involved.
Previous research has shown that AEDs should be placed in locations where the incidence rate for SCA is higher than average. Although we’ve already mentioned high-risk activity areas, research data shows that high volume areas such as factory/manufacturing floors, corporate cafes/lunchrooms, senior care and leisure facilities, shopping centres and hotel common spaces are also suitable locations for AEDs.
Volume of People
Because an SCA can happen to anyone regardless of their race, age, gender or fitness, it follows that the more people gathered in a single space, the more likely it is that an SCA will occur. Due to the large crowds in locations such as shopping malls, conference centres, sporting venues, schools, universities and transport hubs, investing in an AED is a common-sense move.
AEDs in the Home
While we have been highlighting the placement of AEDs in workplaces and public spaces, the reality is that the vast majority of the 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year occur at home. This was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused high-risk people to stay home and more people to work remotely. As a result, it’s a good investment for homes, apartment buildings and communities where high-risk individuals and families live to invest in an AED.
SCAs require the rapid retrieval of an AED within 3 minutes or less, therefore facilities managers need to ensure that staff or bystanders are able to get to one quickly. This means that multiple AEDs may be required for a single venue in order to provide effective coverage and accessibility. The likelihood of a successful defibrillation decreases by 10% for every minute delay, however survival rates as high as 70% have been recorded when defibrillation is provided within one minute.
When it comes to placement of AEDs in a facility, it is important that they are boldly signposted and kept in an unlocked storage cabinet in an easily accessible part of the building. The cabinet should be easily identifiable and placed on a wall where it can be quickly located, even in a crowded space. Remember to consider your placement in terms of distance, as well as the number of stairs, restricted access areas, and crowded areas you have to move through in order to get to the AED from all parts of your building.
Bystanders should not have to get keys or permission to access this space, and emergency training should ensure everyone is informed of where the defibrillator is kept and how to access it and use it, regardless of their level in the organisation.
AEDs – Making Workplaces, Homes and Entertainment Venues Safer Places
Currently, SCAs have a survival rate of just 10%. At DefibsPlus, we’re passionate about increasing the survival rate by putting sufficient numbers of AEDs in homes, workplaces, industrial sites and public spaces across Australia. Our teams are dedicated to helping you find a high-quality, affordable AED and providing comprehensive training for your staff, family or community. Contact us today for more information. Together, we can save lives!