We recently received an enquiry asking if defibrillators should be installed in apartment buildings. This made us think about the desirability of defibrillators for workplaces. In Australia there are currently no specific legislative requirements for Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) in the workplace or in public places. However, medical authorities advise, that the use of AED’s while waiting for emergency services can increase patient survival rate.
The Australian Resuscitation Council updated their first aid guidelines in 2006 to include the use of AED’s as good practice. The commonly used acronym, ‘DRABC’ has been amended to ‘DRABCD’ comprising Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, CPR and Defibrillation.
If you choose to provide an AED you should locate it in a clearly visible location, accessible to all persons in the area, and clearly sign posted. Regular maintenance needs to be undertaken to ensure that the unit is functional and the pads are not out of date (eg St John’s Ambulance recommends a weekly light check).
In the past, there has been concern about the use of defibrillators causing harm and potentially death when improperly used, however many manufacturers now sell units designed for use by untrained personnel.
St John’s ambulance Victoria provides the “Hearth Start First Aid Defibrillator”- an entry level defibrillator designed to “walk somebody through” the process of CPR and defibrillation until ambulance arrival, even if they have only received minimal training.
It is recommended that sufficient defibrillators are installed so that they can be reached within a brisk 60-90 second walk from any part of the building, as medical advice suggests patients should be treated within 3 minutes of collapse for the best chance at survival.