Legislation Follows New Technology to Improve Public Access to AEDs
“Apply Pads to bare chest,” the AED machine commanded during CPR training. “Analyzing heart rhythm,” the AED added. “Do not touch the patient.”
The training dummy didn’t have much of a heart rate, of course. I guess that’s why the next voice command heard from the AED machine in the CPR and AED training video was “shock advised. Stand clear of patient.”
These new AED machines have taken the guess work out of saving lives. Even the shock pads are pre-connected. All you have to do to deliver a shock is press the orange button. Just wait for the AED to let you know when!
The new machines are so easy and safe to use that it is becoming easier for legislation to follow; protecting those who use the AEDs. California Senate Bill 658, for example, was passed unanimously in late 2015. The Governor signed the bill and the legislation became effective January 1st, 2016.
The bill “increases public and private access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in California,” according to the California State Firefighters Association. The bill “streamlines state requirements that commercial building owners and public facilities need to follow to be immune from liability if they have AEDs on their property.”
Although requirements for maintenance, posting instructions and annual demonstrations for building tenants still exist, those who provide AEDs in their facilities, such as shopping malls and restaurants, have fewer hoops to jump through to protect themselves from liability.
“We were told to never touch the customer,” my waiter said when I asked him about AEDs in my favorite San Diego restaurant. “Even if someone is having a heart attack. We don’t know what to do!”
What my waiter and his manager don’t know is that AEDs have voice controls that will help the good Samaritan respond appropriately. The waiter is protected by good Samaritan laws in California that shield him from legal liability if something goes wrong during AED use, which never happens anyway. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “there are no reports of AEDs harming bystanders or users. Also, there are no reports of AEDs delivering inappropriate shocks.
Now, with the passage of Senate Bill 658, my favorite California restaurant manager can breathe even easier about AED liability. Hopefully more organizations will install AEDs and train staff members to use them.
And all this is important because, as the closest by-stander, his AED training and support could mean the difference between life and death for a customer. Sudden cardiac arrest kills nearly a thousand people per day in the United States. Your training could save a close friend or family member.
Do you now feel comfortable using an AED machine?
For CPR and AED training classes available every day of the week in San Diego, California, go to www.beatingheartcenter.com or call 619-796-2422. All training classes are certified by the American Safety and Health Institute and the American Heart Association.