LANCASTER - Taylor Dealerships, of Lancaster, has decided to take the heart safe plunge, ordering AEDs (automated external defibrillators) to keep onsite and scheduling certification classes for Monday, July 28.
An AED is a small, encased defibrillator machine that will shock a heart back into the correct rhythm.
When a heart suffers cardiac arrest, the heart stops and then enters an abnormal rhythm, quivering. If that rhythm continues, the victim will expire. Having an AED on hand prepares people to respond to a case of cardiac arrest.
Billy Thagard, general manager of Taylor Dealerships in Lancaster, has an AED in his home and is CPR certified. He wants others in his business to be certified as well so that employees will be able to respond to heart emergencies on the job.
Fairfield Medical Center representatives will come to Taylor on Monday to provide hands-only CPR and AED training.
The Heart Safe Business Accreditation program is run by the Snider Community Heart Watch (SCHW) committee at Fairfield Medical Center. In 2012, SCHW started a community access AED program, aiming to increase the number of AEDs accessible in the area.
Since then, businesses, schools, churches and law enforcement have acquired AEDs - over 240 to date - to ensure they are ready in case of heart-related emergencies.
"It's a great program," said Jennifer Dicken, a Logan resident and cardiovascular data analyst at FMC. As a public access AED program coordinator, she gives free AED training to businesses or organizations that purchase the kits.
Cardiovascular disease is "the number one killer in the United States, with 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occurring in the workplace each year," according to the SCHW brochure on Heart Safe Business Accreditation.
For a cardiac arrest victim, chance of survival decreases 10 percent every minute. For this reason, experts recommend using an AED within three minutes of the incident.
"Defibrillation within three minutes can increase the chance of survival up to 70 percent," the SCHW reports.
"That's the main thing we want is saving lives," Dicken said.
The SCHW brochure lists the criteria for Heart Safe Business Accreditation: self-assessments of each employee's risk of sudden cardiac arrest, CPR training for all leadership and at least 25 percent of employees, AEDs within 90 seconds of any place in the building and quarterly medical emergency drills.
Taylor's AEDs should arrive within the next three to four weeks. All three buildings on the Lancaster campus will contain a kit.
"We are real big on heart safe businesses and heart safe schools," said Thagard, whose wife has worked with Granville schools to move them toward becoming heart safe.
The hands-only CPR and AED training will be required for Taylor's managers and is available to all employees. With training and equipment on hand, employees will be able to respond effectively, should a customer or coworker suffer cardiac arrest.
For more information on SCHW programs or heart-safe accreditation, contact Dicken at 740-687-8345.