Save a Life with CPR and an AED

My workplace recently instituted a two-hour CPR course which involves learning about an AED or Automated External Defibrillator. I took a course almost twenty years ago at a local health center, but that was before AED’s had come into use. A CPR course now takes approximately two hours and could possibly save the life of a family member or friend.

Heart attacks kill close to 400,000 people each year in the United States and can strike anyone – men, women and even children. Having a regular checkup is vital to your well-being; if additional tests are needed, your doctor will advise you to seek the professional help necessary. When a heart attack occurs, the heart finds it extremely difficult to pump oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. This is where CPR and the AED come become imperative in order to sustain life.

By using CPR on a person, you can help the body restore oxygen to other organs. However, by using an Automated External Defibrillator successfully, you can “shock” the heart back into its normal rhythm thereby gaining time for the victim until trained professionals arrive at the scene.

With proper training, an AED is easy to implement on a heart attack victim. After turning the AED on and removing the pads, the machine will walk you through each step. If the pads are not placed on the victim properly, the AED will inform you. It will even inform you if a “shock” is – or is not – necessary. Many Automated External Defibrillators come with both adult pads and children’s pads.

AED’s are now being purchased by companies where a large number of people either work or gather. Recently, in Boston’s North Station, a man collapsed to the floor while waiting for the nightly train. Thankfully, there were others also waiting, some of which worked in nearby Boston hospitals. An Army paramedic and two nurses began CPR, while an MBTA worker ran for the AED, which had been installed only weeks before. The man is now in good condition at a Boston hospital.

Hopefully, more Automated External Defibrillators will be installed at various locations throughout the country. Ask your employer to place one where you work and possibly help save a life.