Footy Club AED
Over the past week Staying Alive representatives have attended two football clubs who have received an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from our competitors. Whilst the intent of the clubs in investing in an AED was admirable, the execution was lacking. This is by no means the fault of the clubs or their officers, they have not had adequate support from their supplier.
These are the issues:
- no-one trained to use the AED
- No maintenance program
- Not highly visible and no signage
At both clubs the members (including coaches and trainers) indicated they would not use the AED if someone collapsed as they had not been shown how to use it. Sadly some companies sell AEDs with the suggestion that they are “idiot proof,” simple to use and anyone can use them – all you have to do is turn it on and it will tell you what to do. This is correct, however the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that people will not even touch the AED if they have not at least had some familiarization training. The comments from the club members is further support of this.
Familiarization training provides the members with the confidence to use the device if someone collapses. Following a short familiarization session participants always indicate they feel far less stressed about the AED and have greater confidence in its use as well as the fact they now understand they cannot hurt someone with it. Familiarization training should occur at least annually and preferably twice a year, and involve as many people as possible within the club.
At both clubs it is possible the AED would not have functioned if required. At one club the AED had been recalled and was required to be returned to the manufacturer but no-one at the club was aware. At the second club the AED did not have a battery in it and no-one at the club realised.
Most AEDs perform self tests on a weekly basis to ensure all is well with them. It is important that AEDs are visually inspected at least monthly to check that they have passed their self tests (usually a green light will flash or be illuminated), batteries are working, and the electrodes are unopened and in date. There have been numerous reports from overseas of AEDs that have been deployed for use in an emergency only to find they have flat batteries.
Early defibrillation saves lives and minutes can mean the difference between life or death, that’s why football clubs have invested in them. However, if they are not clearly visible then people will not be aware they exist or they wont be located when required. So it is extremely important that AEDs are kept in a highly visible location and there is ample signage indicating that an AED is present and where it is.
So if your club has or is considering acquiring an AED, please ensure you institute a complete AED program. It is simply inadequate and dangerous to purchase an AED and stick on the wall or in a store room and forget about it.
Check out Staying Alive’s AED program for sporting clubs