Date Posted
9th Jul 2016

New Zealand Resuscitation Council Backs AEDs in the Workplace

Three years ago, staff from the Bunnings' Dunedin store social club raised funds to pay for an automated external defibrillator (AED) to be installed, after one of their colleagues died from a heart condition. The AED was recently removed at Bunnings management’s request, citing company policy.

The company's New Zealand marketing manager Valerie Staley said the Dunedin team had been asked to donate the AED "to a local community group, for example surf life-saving, where there is a much greater likelihood of it being required and used."

Dr Richard Aickin, Chair of New Zealand Resuscitation Council, said the move to donate the AED to another organisation was commendable, however the Council questioned the accuracy of the company’s beliefs about the risks and benefits of public access to AEDs. The Council strongly favours public access to defibrillation, Aickin said.

AEDs are designed to guide an untrained user to take the correct actions to save a life. “Modern AEDs are very safe and can be used anywhere. Anyone can use them”, said Aickin. Having certainty that an AED was in a given location was valuable, since time is critical for survival. A person who has a cardiac arrest needs immediate CPR together with rapid application of an AED.

Sport and exercise physician Dr Hamish Osbourne agreed, calling it ‘‘just silly'' for the company to cite the lack of ‘‘availability of [a] trained team to operate the units'' as a reason for removing the defibrillator.‘‘ You almost don't need any training. They're taught on most first-aid courses."

The ideal is to have AEDs placed in as many locations as possible so workplaces can be ready should somebody collapse on their premises, Aickin said.

Workplace AEDs
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