Study Shows Half of Workers Don’t Know Where an AED is Located

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- A recent study shows half of all workers cannot locate the AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, at work. In the hospitality industry, that number rose to 66 percent, according to the American Heart Association.

West Des Moines EMS Deputy Chief Mark McCulloch said it is very important to have discussions in the office about the importance of CPR and where an AED is located.

“We have cases over the last few years where people have literally been brought back to life before or even as we arrive. They definitely work. Coupled with good CPR it can be a life saver,” McCulloch said.

An Executive Director at Ernst and Young, Mark Witte, said if his co-workers did not have CPR training and hadn't known where the AED was located, he would not be here today.

“Back in 2009, I was sitting at my desk and was waiting for a 4:30 call and it was 4:28 and next thing I knew I woke up at Mercy Hospital. Thank God my colleagues at Ernst and Young were prepared and had CPR training and knew where the AED was and called 911. They did all the right things and not everybody has that,” Witte said.

“The data suggests these untrained employees may be relying on their untrained peers in the event of an emergency, leaving employees with a false sense of security that someone in the workplace will be qualified and able to respond, when that is clearly not the case,” Michael Kurz, co-chair of the AHA’s Systems of Care Subcommittee, said in a news release.

McCulloch said AED machines can be hard to find, but in most public places they are located where a fire extinguisher would be: near an exit, bathroom, break room or even at a front desk.

“It’s a matter of looking around. A lot of times they are placed by exits and labeled a little bit like a fire extinguisher and are in a metal cabinet mounted on the wall,” McCulloch said.

He added, it is easy to learn how to do CPR and use an AED machine.

“They are very simple to use. Most devices, some look different than this, but they all essentially work the same. As long as you can figure out how to open it and turn it on, it will give you instructions on how to use it and how to care for the patient. You just have to listen,” McCulloch said.