As a small business owner, considering the possibility of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) on your premises probably isn’t very high on your agenda. Yet, if you, your employees or even one of your customers goes into SCA, reacting quickly and effectively is the only way to save a life.
A SCA is when the heart unexpectedly stops beating due to a problem with its electrical system. It can happen to anyone, is unpredictable, and there’s often very little warning. The idea of a SCA in the workplace is a scary prospect for any business. However, preparing your employees and premises for a SCA can increase your colleagues’ and customers’ chances of survival.
Educating your employees
Training employees to recognise the signs of a SCA is the best place to start. If someone collapses in your workplace, you’ll be able to determine whether they are in SCA if they’re:
- Not breathing, or not breathing normally
Without immediate attention, a SCA will be fatal. If you spot these signs, call 999 and start CPR straight away. If your business doesn’t currently have a trained first aider on site, plenty of organisations such as St John Ambulance and British Heart Foundation provide CPR training for workplaces. Arranging a first aid course for yourself and your employees is a great way of gaining lifesaving skills, as well as developing the confidence to react calmly and effectively in a medical emergency.
There are also online resources you can use to test your lifesaving knowledge. Cardiac Science have created an Are you rescue ready? quiz that covers a number of topics, including recognising the signs of a SCA, how to give CPR, and using a defibrillator correctly. It also features a few handy explainer videos to provide more in-depth answers. Not only can you use the quiz to determine how clued up you are already, but it’ll also teach you and your employees more about how to respond in the event of a SCA.
Kitting out your workplace
On top of educating your employees, ensuring your workplace has the necessary lifesaving equipment can make a real difference. When a SCA happens, the sufferer’s chance of survival decreases by 10% with every minute that passes without defibrillation. With 75% of NHS ambulances arriving within eight minutes of being alerted, waiting for the emergency services to respond can often be too late for SCA sufferers.
Getting an automated external defibrillator (AED) for your workplace is the best way to ensure that you’ll have one available in an emergency. An AED shocks the heart to return it to a normal rhythm. You don’t need any training to use an AED. Designed to be used by members of the public, an AED will talk the user through the entire process.
There is currently no legislation in the UK that requires particular businesses or premises to have an AED. However, AEDs are becoming more common in public places, such as stations and shopping centres, and an increasing number of workplaces are voluntarily investing in the equipment. If you’re not sure your business can afford to install an AED, you can also look up the nearest public AED to your workplace and inform your employees of the quickest route to access the equipment.
You may also like: Heart Health in the Workplace
Cardiac Science provides life-saving defibrillation devices to the public and healthcare professionals. They are committed to eliminating needless delays between sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and life-saving defibrillation by ensuring automated external defibrillators (AED)s are accessible and simple to use.