An AED can issue a potentially lifesaving shock to a casualty who is in cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest is a malfunction in the electrical activity of the heart which rapidly leads to death and the delivery of a shock to the heart can reset the natural pacemaker. If you suspect a colleague may be in cardiac arrest, quick use of an AED can greatly increase the casualty's chances of survival.
AEDs are portable, battery-powered machines which are designed for use by the untrained to de-fibrillate cardiac arrest victims before emergency services arrive. This is important as a victims' chances of survival deteriorate rapidly over time, even with the use CPR. An AED can restore normal heart function before emergency services arrive, which gives casualties the best possible chance of survival. There is currently (as of 2019) no UK legislation obliging employers to have AEDs on their premises. However, depending on your workplace and the amount of employees there are, there may be compelling reasons to do so.
Should my workplace have an AED?
It could be a good idea to invest in an AED and there are several factors employers should consider when it comes to investing in one. For example, the number of staff and members of the public on site, if there are any known pre-existing health conditions, the average age of employees or visitors, the amount of physical activity undertaken in the workplace and the average response time for local emergency services. For example, an office with a large number of over 50s is at a higher risk of someone suffering a cardiac arrest than one with a younger workforce. As survival ultimately depends on rapid defibrillation, a workplace in a remote location or one with congested roads should consider if emergency services are likely to be able to respond within 8 minutes.