As a facility manager, you have a lot of things on your plate throughout the year. Plus, the global pandemic of 2020 has only reinforced the importance of health and safety in the workplace. Although accidents can happen at any time throughout the year, now is a perfect time to take the steps to ensure your staff is aware of the practices, procedures and equipment you have in place to address a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. That’s why it’s up to facility managers to be prepared at all times. However, simply having better access to life-saving technology isn’t enough. Your employees need to know how to use this technology quickly and effectively. Remember, AEDs don’t save lives, people do.
The Importance of CPR and AED Training and Retraining
Why should every facility manager take the time to reassess their CPR and AED training and retraining procedures as the year comes to a close? Because training programs can save lives. When someone has a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, chances of survival are statistically low. Approximately 90% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die, according to the AHA. Few of these people receive appropriate CPR from colleagues or other bystanders while waiting for trained emergency personnel to arrive.
However, if an individual suffers a cardiac arrest and receives CPR immediately, their chances of survival can double or triple. Here is a life-saving story that helps illustrate how immediate response can help save lives.
Know the Differences Between a Heart Attack and SCA
Heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests are not the same thing. It’s important to train your staff on the differences between heart attacks and SCA. Educating your staff on the two can only help increase the chances that they are able to recognize a heart attack or cardiac arrest and respond accordingly.
Heart attacks occur when the flow of blood to the heart is obstructed. These blockages deprive the heart of its oxygen supply. According to the Mayo Clinic, heart attack symptoms include:
- Pain, discomfort, pressure or tightness in the chest
- Nausea, indigestion or heartburn
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
SCA is the sudden loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Cardiac arrest can affect anyone, but people with heart disease are more susceptible. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of cardiac arrest include:
- Loss of breath
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of pulse
- Sudden collapses
Prepare Your Staff
Recognizing a heart attack or cardiac arrest is only the first step in acting accordingly. Here are some steps you and your staff should take during a SCA occurrence:
- Determine if the individual is not breathing and is without a pulse
- Contact the local emergency medical services (EMS) office
- Administer CPR (if you cannot feel a pulse, administering CPR is the best first response, whether the individual is experiencing a heart attack or SCA)
- Administer an electrical shock with an AED
- Continue with CPR and AED administration until breathing or heartbeat returns—or until local EMS arrives
Most importantly, you and your staff need to be trained in administering cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with rescue breathing and cardiac compression. Training must come before the event happens and should also include use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). If your staff isn’t up-to-date on training, the new year is a perfect time to address this issue.
Show Your Staff You Care
Show your staff you care by investing in their health in 2021. CPR and AED training improves the working environment you provide. If your staff knows that their colleagues are trained to respond to a cardiac arrest, they will likely feel that much happier and safer coming to work.