AEDs in Retail Outlets?

Source: 123RF

The AED – Automatic External Defibrillator, a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart, could be a feature of retail stores, at least in the NY area, if a 21-year old resident has his way.

EMS1 reports that Justin Beyer, of Lewis County, NY, gave a short presentation in the public comment period at the beginning of the county Board of Legislators meeting on Tuesday evening, outlining what an automatic external defibrillator is and why they are needed.

The shock can potentially stop an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Beyer’s goal is to require large retail outlets to have a defibrillator and CPR-trained personnel in their stores at all times.

Motivated by a New Year’s Day incident during his shift at Walmart, in which he put his month-old CPR skills to the test on an unconscious customer and no AED was available at the store, Mr. Beyer decided to take action.

He learned through conversations with the Walmart manager that although Walmart does not generally have AEDs in its stores, there are some stores that have them, to comply with county or state laws.

The report adds that the county law Mr. Beyer would like to see passed would require big retailers, like Walmart, Tops and Tractor Supply, to have an AED available and ensure a certain percentage of their floor staff is CPR- and AED-certified.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 350,000 people in the United States suffer cardiac arrest each year. The majority of these out of hospital cardiac arrests occur at home.  

Use of an AED can more than double a victim’s chances of survival.  A recent study found that after public health initiatives, like HEARTSafe, individuals who received bystander CPR and early defibrillation, were more likely to survive.

Nationally, less than 1 in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and are discharged from the hospital and only 8.9% of victims survive with good neurologic function.

Ventura County, CA, paramedic, Mark Komins told SUN News Report, “Public access AEDs and CPR are very important factors in out of hospital cardiac arrest survival. The sooner CPR is started and an AED is used, the better chance for survival the patient has.”

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