5 reasons why your gym or fitness center needs an AED
The importance of AEDs in fitness centers and gyms
Making sure your gym or fitness center has an automated external defibrillator (AED) can mean the difference between life and death. AEDs are small, portable, and easy-to-use life-saving devices that can be used to shock a person’s heart back into rhythm if it has stopped or is beating irregularly.
Reason #1: SCA is more common than you think it is
Reason #2: Strenuous Exercise Raises Short-term Risk of Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest
And many of these cardiac arrests occur while people are pumping iron or pounding the treadmill. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that about 16% of public, indoor sudden cardiac arrests reported over a 12-year period occurred at an exercise facility.
But that’s not an excuse for ditching your New Year’s Resolutions. Fitness is key to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, physical exercise remains one of the best ways to lower overall heart disease risk. So get moving!
Reason #3: AEDs Improve Survival Odds in Fitness Centers
Get this: that study also found that people who suffered cardiac arrest in traditional exercise facilities had a significantly higher survival rate compared to people who were in non-traditional exercise facilities (like community centers, church gyms, and dance studios).
What’s the difference? Well, fitness centers and gyms are more likely to have AEDs — and people on staff who are trained to use them — than other locations. Gyms are also more likely to have multiple AEDs throughout the facility. Poolside, cycling studios, weight rooms, cardio floors, and by the entrance are all common gym AED locations.
Reason #4: Your State May Require One
Many states require fitness facilities and gyms to have an AED on site. Any health club that does not have an AED — even if your state hasn’t mandated them — runs the risk of being seen as acting with indifference to the welfare and safety of its patrons and members. In other words, it’s your duty of care.
Reason #5: Liability Protection
Facilities with AEDs may have lower insurance premiums because they’re less likely to endure liability lawsuits filed by grieving families.
DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the aed.com website and blog are intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.
Pediatric defibrillation pads differ from adult pads by adjusting the energy level that is put out by the AED. These pads should be used for children under 55 lbs (typically under 8 years old), while adult pads should be used for individuals over 55 lbs (older than 8 years old). If children frequently visit your facility or business, it is highly recommended that pediatric pads are available for each AED on-site. In the event of an emergency and there are no pediatric pads available, adult pads can be used but may require the pads to be placed differently than where it shows on the pad package.
While most AEDs have pediatric pad options for their units, there are a few that don’t.
The Philips HeartStart FRx AED does not have pediatric pads. Instead, this AED uses a “Child Key” that can be inserted into the front of the unit to reduce the energy level of the shock.
The Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR2 AED is another unit that does not require pediatric pads. This AED has a button that can be pressed to switch the AED from adult mode to child mode.
All AEDs come with a battery and pads but when your AED arrives, you might see some extra accessories. Here’s a list of what you can expect:
Battery: This powers your AED. Without it, the AED won’t function.
Adult Pad: Pads are placed on the chest and pass through the shock from the AED to the victim. Adult pads are used for those over the age of 8 and/or heavier than 55 lb.
1AED Check Tag: Use to note battery and pad expirations and regular monthly checks.
1AED Window Decal: Lets employees and guests know an AED is present in the building.
1CPR Response Kit: Includes the necessary items to help prepare the patient and rescuer for CPR and the use of an AED.
1 Physician's Prescription: FDA requires all AEDs have a physician's prescription.
AED Packages are designed specifically for your needs. There are a variety of package options ranging from home to business. Each of these packages provides different options to keep you prepared in an emergency. Here are some of the extra items that may be found in AED Packages:
Child/Pediatric Pads/Key: Organizations that frequently have children (under 8 years/under 55 lb.) present need pediatric pads or a pediatric key which adjusts the strength of the shock when the victim is a child.
Alarmed Cabinet: The cabinet is mounted on the wall and used to hold your AED and CPR response kit. The alarm helps prevent tampering and notifies those nearby when there is an emergency.
Wall Signs: Wall signs are used as a visual indicator to show where the AED is from far away. This makes it easier to find the AED. Some AED packages contain triangle wall signs which provide additional visibility around corners.
AED Backpack: Included in portable AED packages, this backpack features a clear window to allow those nearby to see there is an AED on-site.
AED cabinets may be placed in different areas depending on the building, but the most important detail is the same—wherever you place your cabinet, make sure the cabinet is visible and able to be accessed quickly and easily.
An effective AED Program implements a 3-minute response time from the collapse of the victim to retrieving the AED and using it on the victim. If you have a larger facility, you can use the 3-minute guide to figure out how many AEDs you may need and where to place them.
Mount your AED cabinet in accordance with ADA guidelines:
In order to stay in compliance with the ADA, your cabinet needs to be placed no more than 48 inches above the ground. This allows someone who is shorter or in a wheelchair to retrieve the AED if needed.
Place your AED in an easily accessible area
AEDs need to be able to be accessible to bystanders and employees at all times. Many people place their AEDs in the same easily accessible location as their first aid kit or fire extinguisher. The American Heart Association suggests placing the cabinet near areas such as:
Common areas or hallways
Cafeterias or break rooms
Customer service desks
Avoid keeping the AED in areas that are commonly out of sight for employees and/or patrons. Don’t put your AED in a storage closet, basement, or behind a locked door—this makes it difficult for rescuers to access it when needed.
Note how your surroundings may affect the AED
If your AED is in direct sunlight, it can affect it negatively. The constant heat from the sun can ruin the pads, battery, or the device itself, making it useless during an emergency situation. Avoid placing the AED in direct sunlight.
If your AED may inadvertently get exposed to water because it is near a pool or other water source, ensure it’s always stored in the cabinet to help protect the integrity of the device.
The longer a person goes without effective CPR and defibrillation, the less likely they are to survive. That is why it is so important for your AED to be accessible and for your personnel to be trained in CPR and how to use the AED.