Posted by timbers1 on 07/26/2017

I recently came across this story-- the ran through details regarding an SCA event that took place in just the last week or two.

Essentially, an off-duty fireman spending time with his family and some colleagues of his was hit with an attack that dropped him immediately. While he couldn't have really asked for better company to face such an event in his life (after all, how many are "lucky"--and I use the word loosely--enough to have a cardiac event in the presence of trained EMT's?), not everything went as smooth as possible in this type of emergency. Namely, the AED at the family entertainment spot where he was visiting wasn't working despite being present. Obviously, a non-working unit is no better than not having one at all.

Fortunately, this particular story ended well. The man who suffered the heart stoppage was able to be saved largely due to the quick thinking and reactions of those around him, and it appears from the article that a full recovery was made.

I thought this was worth drawing attention to as it seems it's far too common that AEDs are not properly maintained, or in some cases are older models that may have had manufacturer issues. This article on the occupational health and safety site also mentions that locations having AEDs present that don't work could be risking legal action. While I'd never come across that before, if for some reason an organization needed an incentive beyond saving a life to properly monitor, test, and keep their AEDs up to date, that's probably as good as any.

I also found this article on the sca-aware website that brings in a host of data (albeit a bit outdated at this point) covering the number of fatalities related to poor AED maintenance. If you're interested in digging in further there's a whole host of great information there.

Finally, I just wanted to express that I feel for the family above and hope that the location that had the incident and identified the malfunctioning unit will be vigilant in its maintenance. It must have been quite a hit when the family discovered the AED unit that should have brought their husband/dad around quickly wasn't working properly :/.

I'm glad this story ended ok!


Submitted by Bob Trenkamp on 07/26/2017


As part of a personal effort to protect myself, every time I walk into place with an AED, I check to see if the light is flashing. If it is, I mention to the person in charge - if I haven't already done so - that the 100% defense against a lawsuit for an AED that fails to perform is to be able to produce a record that shows that your employees or you maintained the unit in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. These instructions are usually "check it once a week to make sure the light is still blinking." The written record of these actions should include the date and time of the inspection, the identity of the inspector, and the assertion that the light was blinking. [There is one specific AED that needs to be inspected every day.]

If I find a "dead" AED I explain to the person in charge what might happen to the business and the person in charge if someone arrested and the AED was in that condition.

There are two fitness centers that now do that, as well as a few businesses I frequent.

Just think what would happen if we all did that!