It seems as though every time you turn on the news you hear about another young athlete who collapses on the court or field with sudden cardiac arrest. This sudden and potentially lethal condition can strike anyone at any time and at any age. In fact, its frequency has prompted several recent laws requiring certain entities to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand and at the ready should someone experience sudden cardiac arrest. Other locations have simply decided to begin maintaining these devices as a “best practice.”
Health & Fitness Clubs
Currently, California, Oregon, Nevada, Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island law requires health and fitness clubs to have and maintain a functioning AED. This practice is largely due to the publicity surrounding athletes who suddenly experience cardiac arrest and are saved by the quick thinking and close proximity to these devices. While it is not legally required in other states, many health and fitness clubs continue this practice.
Currently, 22 states require schools to have one or more AED’s in their building. While it is not mandated by law, many schools find that this reflects their commitment to both student and staff safety. Many schools find that they need to raise money to purchase such devices and find that refurbished models meet both safety requirements and budgetary constraints.
Physicians recommend having one or more AED in areas where large numbers of people congregate. Those who travel via airplane coupled with those who work in airports represents a small city of people with the possibility of sudden cardiac arrest. Even though there is no current legislation regarding AEDs in airports, nearly every major airport in the country is equipped with one or more device in every terminal.
Arenas, Concert Halls, Large Event Venues
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people, gather in these venues on a regular basis. Most are equipped with one or more AED’s in visible places. These arenas take the risk for sudden cardiac arrest one step further by training security and medical personnel in their use. Should a person experience cardiac arrest, one or more people nearby know where the AED is located and are trained in its use as well as basic lifesaving techniques.
Oddly enough, government buildings are not required by law to house and maintain an AED, yet many do. City offices and county courthouses generally have one or more device at the ready.
Less Likely Areas
Wisconsin requires daycare centers to have an AED on hand that is appropriate for pediatric use. Illinois and Wisconsin require dental offices to maintain an AED for use on patients in their care. New York requires public pools to have an AED on hand. Ideally, an AED would be available when you need one wherever large numbers of people gather. This would include large retail outlets, amusement parks, shopping malls, or restaurants.
With an ever-growing understanding of their function, AEDs are popping up in more and more locations. While we hope to never use one, knowing where they could be located may one day save a life.