The AED — A Life-Saving Amenity

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) — or massive heart attack — is one of the leading causes of death, and for as many as 50 percent of SCA victims, the first sign of heart disease. More than 450,000 people a year die from this silent killer. By its nature, sudden cardiac arrest is completely unpredictable, and the only effective treatment for SCA is the delivery of a defibrillation shock to the heart.

The chances of an SCA victim’s survival decreases by 10 percent for every minute that passes, so in order to be effective, defibrillation treatment must be administered within the first few minutes of SCA. Yes, you should call 911 if your guest has a heart attack, but the national average response time is 10 to 12 minutes, not soon enough for SCA victims. Typically, 95 percent of SCA victims die before reaching the hospital.

To prepare for the unexpected, many hotels are making Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) available on their property. AEDs are FDA-controlled devices that require a prescription. When used as part of a well-thought-out safety and first aid program, AEDs offer a practical way to save lives because they are designed for use by nearly anyone, and with minimal training. In most cases, a simple course including CPR and AED training is all that is required. The American Heart Association® Heartsaver™ AED course can be completed in four hours. Properties installing AEDs should make sure their security team is trained in their use, plus as many other staff members as possible.

You should also evaluate your property to see if more than one AED is needed. For larger facilities, the federal government recommends a three-minute response time as a guideline. Areas that should be considered are people-dense areas: the lobby/front desk area, banquet halls, and the pool/fitness center. Consider physical barriers, such as doors, stairs, or elevators when determining the response time; you may need to place the AEDs on different floors or wings of the building.

Laws surrounding AED usage vary from state to state; all states but one have passed Good Samaritan laws with language about AEDs. In addition, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, passed in 2000, provides AED users and acquirers with protection from liability. This and similar legislation underway is helping to make AEDs the standard of care for SCA, and as such, organizations are increasingly at greater liability for failing to have these life-saving devices on site.

An AED typically costs about the same as a good laptop computer. vary from state to state; all states but one have passed Good Samaritan laws with language about AEDs. In addition, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, passed in 2000, provides AED users and acquirers with protection from liability. This and similar legislation underway is helping to make AEDs the standard of care for SCA, and as such, organizations are increasingly at greater liability for failing to have these life-saving devices on site.

Laws surrounding AED usage On a monthly basis, it often costs less for a defibrillation program than providing coffee and drinking water for employees and guests.

Travelers are often under many stresses, with travel delays, business meetings and presentations to take part in, and meals eaten on the run, and they are often off their normal schedule. For the hospitality industry, dealing with harried travelers is an important part of what you do every day. But real hospitality includes the safety of your guests, so consider this amenity that truly can make a difference — a life-saving difference.

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