A cardiac arrest emergency can happen in any gym or anywhere at any time. A gym member, staff member or visitor is much more likely to endure cardiac arrest when exercising or in the aftermath of a grueling workout session than when resting at home. Sudden cardiac arrest is the abrupt stop of the heartbeat. More than 400,000 people living in the United States pass away from sudden cardiac arrest each year. It is imperative your gym and your staff members are fully prepared for a cardiac arrest emergency with the proper training and medical devices.
How to Determine if Your Staff is Prepared for a Cardiac Emergency
Consider whether your staff members have been adequately trained on cardiac arrest. Do they really understand what sudden cardiac arrest is and what its most common signs are? Do you have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the facility? These devices should be placed in easily accessible areas of the facility. Staff members should be trained on how to operate the AED. Furthermore, the AEDs should be designated with a sign that indicates the AED is available and ready for use. Once all of these requirements are met, your team and your gym will be fully prepared to handle a sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Should be Taken Seriously
Sudden cardiac arrest results from an electrical problem in the heart that causes the flow of blood to slow and heart functionality to halt. This is not a health problem to be taken lightly.
Sudden cardiac arrest strikes without any warning. In fact, sudden cardiac arrest kills over 90 percent of victims. The survival rate decreases by 10 percent every single minute the individual is not tended to by a medical professional. If your staff or anyone else can apply an AED within three minutes or less of the victim's collapse, the odds of survival are significantly higher.
Having an AED On-site is not Enough
Most fitness clubs have at least one AED on-site. However, what matters is that staff members actually know how to use the AED. Consider the fact that every minute and a half at least one person living in the United States experiences sudden cardiac arrest. There is a good chance this episode will occur while exercising.
If cardiac arrest occurs at your gym, your reputation will take a hit. If your team fails to respond with an AED and/or CPR or a call to 9-1-1 in a timely manner, the family of the victim might sue your business. The damage to your standing in the community will be even worse if the individual in question passes away on-site. Develop, implement and regularly update a detailed cardiac emergency response program to keep gym members, staff and visitors protected in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.
Every Gym Needs a Cardiac Emergency Response Program
Your fitness center should perform an in-depth assessment of whether AEDs should be added, replaced, if the ones on-site are functional and so on. This review is the foundation of a cardiac emergency response program. Determine strategic areas of the gym to place the AEDs. Train as many employees on AED use and CPR as possible. Consider bringing on professionals to train your staff in the use of AEDs and CPR so they understand exactly how these devices and procedures are to be used in an attempt to save a life. Some AED and CPR training can now be conducted on the web. Remember however that CPR & AED training requires an in-person skills check beyond any website training. There should be ample signage that is easily visible so gym members, employees and guests can find the AED with ease. This device should not be locked away or concealed in any fashion.
If the AED can't be reached and put in to use within two minutes, it is not located in the ideal spot. Check the battery and pads of each AED to ensure they have not expired. Finally, check the device to ensure it is still in full accordance with the operating manual. All maintenance activities should be logged. It will also help to add a resuscitation kit in the same area as the AED. This kit should contain latex-free gloves, a pair of scissors, a razor, a CPR barrier mask and antiseptic wipes.
Weigh the Merits of Establishing a Cardiac Emergency Response Team
Consider appointing a couple leaders to a cardiac emergency response team. Team members must stay up-to-date on the cardiac emergency response plan, continuously evaluate the nuances of the plan, and step up in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. These AED and CPR specialists just might end up saving your gym's reputation in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.