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First aid and AEDs save lives. The better you understand the process, the better equipped you are to help those around you. And as always, keep up to date on the latest first aid guidelines. You can find the current guidelines here at the heart and stroke foundation’s website:


AEDs in the Workplace

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can strike anywhere and at any time. It can happen to anyone: an employee in the workplace or a shopper in a mall.

The only effective treatment for SCA is early defibrillation with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

In North America, more people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, AIDS, handgun incidents, and traffic accidents combined.

In Canada, this amounts to 35,000 to 45,000 lives lost every year. Although AEDs are not legally required in Canadian workplaces, many organizations have implemented AED programs citing the benefits of risk reduction for employees and customers.

AEDs in the Workplace

AEDs in the Workplace

To maximize the value of your AED and exceed the recommendations for WorkSafeBC and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Iridia can provide you with our medical direction package for your AEDs in the workplace, which includes the following components:

  • Emergency Medical Response Procedures – Working with you, we will provide formal procedures to enhance your current plan with the addition of the AED.
  • Physician Consult – You will be able to consult with an Iridia physician who will answer any medical/response questions from your AED response providers.
  • Emergency Health Services Liaison – Iridia will send letters to the nearest Ambulance station and the Fire Department to inform them of your AED program.
  • Post Incident Call Review – Should your facility experience an event where the AED is used, an Iridiaphysician will review the data from the AED and provide reports as needed to British Columbia Ambulance Service and your local hospital. In addition, you will be provided with a written Call Summary Report of the incident which will assist you with continuous quality improvement in your program.
  • Operational Debriefing/Critical Incident Stress – Iridia can arrange for an operational debriefing with the providers who manage a cardiac arrest event to reassure them of their actions. We can also advise management about best practices to provide appropriate emotional and psychological support. If you do not have an employee assistance program, Iridia can also liaise with WorkSafe BC who will coordinate critical incident interventions for work-related traumatic events.

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation contains legal requirements that must be met by all workplaces under the inspection jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC. Many sections of the Regulation have associated guidelines and policies.

Please follow the link to read the complete WorkSafeBC guidelines and policies for having an AEDs in the workplace.

For more information about AEDs in the workplace, visit WorkSafeBC’s AED Guidelines


AED Maintenance is Key for Defibrillators

As a distributor of AEDs, Iridia would like to take this opportunity to comment on the recent CBC media reports regarding AEDs not operating correctly or failing.  As indicated in the article, a reason for the failure of an AED to function properly has been the lack of routine maintenance.  It is important for individuals or organizations who have purchased an AED to frequently check their device to ensure it will be ready when needed.  To ensure readiness, a routine check would involve inspecting the following:

  • Expiration dates on the battery and electrode pads.  If either items are about to expire or have expired, immediately order and replace the soon to expire/or expired supplies.
  • AED examined for visible damage. 
  • Electrode cable is securely connected to AED
  • Spare set of electrodes is present with AED
  • Rescue Kit is present with AED

AED Maintenance

To help organizations manage their AEDs, Iridia provides an AED Medical Direction Program with a focus on AED maintenance. As part of this program, we track the battery and electrode expiration dates, placing a call to your organization in advance of expiration to ensure the AED is always ready to be used.

In addition to helping track expiration dates, the AEDs we distribute are equipped with safety features to help ensure the AEDs will work when needed. The following are some of the features:

Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR Plus AED:

  • Performs weekly and monthly automatic self- tests for functionality
  • 4 Readiness indicators
  • SafeGuard Power System – a dual layer of security inside the CR Plus the internal battery is kept to its optimal power level via the CHARGE-PAK™ battery charger.
AED Maintenance

Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Plus AED:

  • Rescue Ready Technology
    • a daily, weekly and monthly check for functionality of all main components (battery  and electrodes for presence and capacity, software and hardware)
    • visual alarm (Rescue Ready Status Indicator turns from green to red)
    • an audible alarm (prompting the user to service the unit)
AED Maintenance

The media reports also state that some defibrillators did not deliver a shock.  It is important to understand that in some sudden cardiac arrest situations, the defibrillators may not deliver a shock because it is not needed.  When the electrode pads are placed on the patient’s chest, the device analyzes for 2 shockable rhythms:  Ventricular fibrillation (VF) or Ventricular tachycardia (VT).  If these shockable rhythms are detected, a shock will be delivered.  If they are not detected, a shock will not be delivered and the rescuer will continue with CPR.  If a device does not deliver a shock, it does not mean the unit has failed.

Like all safety equipment, AEDs should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Having a regular maintenance plan in place can help ensure your AED will be ready to use when needed.

AED Failure: an Avoidable Problem

Maintaining Automatic External Defibril­lators (AEDs) is perhaps the most impor­tant step in an AED program. Staff at a Washington D.C. gym learned this the hard way when a 55-year old man named Ralph Polanec collapsed.

The staff members at the gym rushed to grab their AED but could not get the device to turn on and deliver the life-saving shock Ralph’s heart needed.

Despite the best efforts of EMS personnel and friends at the scene, Ralph’s heart nev­er restarted. Later it was found out that the batteries had been removed from the de­vice when they lost their charge, they had never been replaced, effectively rendering the AED useless.

“He shouldn’t have died. I was very upset that the equipment wasn’t working, be­cause if it had been working, it might have saved him, it’s no good if it doesn’t work,” said 77-year-old Ruth Polanec, Ralph’s stepmother.

AED Failure

Ruth is not alone in her reaction. As it turns out, battery problems are one of the leading causes of potentially deadly AED failures.

AED failureA recent study shows some 1,150 deaths were tied to AED failures over a 15-year pe­riod, and nearly one in four of those failures were caused by problems with batteries. Dr. Deluca, the study’s lead author, determined that 23.2 percent of the AED failures were due to battery/power failures, while 23.7 percent were due to problems with the pads or connectors.

Even though the report describes a variety of maintenance related problems, DeLuca is quick to note that AED failures appear to be very rare. “I don’t want to send the mes­sage that these devices are unsafe or that they don’t work,” DeLuca said. “Most of the time they do work and they save lives.”

AED batteries generally last up to five years. But it is important to implement an AED program that regularly checks for error mes­sages and could alert users about low batteries.

AED maintenance is key to having a successful AED program, step up and keep your AED program running smoothly. Visit 


Our AEDs delivered a shock to the BC Hospitality Expo

BC Hospitality Expo

The results are in; the 2011 BC Hospitality Expo was a great success! Tom and Julie had a blast as they met people from all over the hospitality industry. Fascinated faces looked on as they gave Automated External Defibrillator (AED) demos and enlightened people on sudden cardiac arrest… Apparently our branded pens were a huge hit as well; with some taking a many as they could get their hands on.

Global Medical Services definitely had some “wow!” aimed our way. “People were amazed at how small and portable AEDs are,” said Julie. And it’s true, if you have never seen an AED in action before it will really surprise you on how simple and easy it is to use. Our display was a real eye opener for quite a few individuals. It was not just the ease of use that turned heads, but also the maintenance of the AEDs as well. With 8 year warranties and batteries that last up to five years, we offer the full package.

During the two day event, Tom and Julie were asked numerous questions about AEDs but a few came up quite a bit:

Q – “Why do I need this device when I can just call 911?”
A – The answer is simple, on average it takes up to 9 minutes for EMS to arrive at the scene. By that time, survival rates can drop to nearly 10%. With an AED on hand a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest can be defibrillated almost immediately, which will give them a much higher chance of survival.

Q – “What kind of training do I need to use an AED?”
A – You don’t need any training whatsoever to operate an AED. The voice prompts will guide you and tell you all you need to know.

Q – “What about lawsuits, can I get sued for using this AED?”
A – Our Good Samaritan law protects bystanders who serve and tend injured persons from being prosecuted for wrongful death, unless they are found grossly negligent in their care.

AED education still has a ways to go. But hopefully we opened a lot of minds during those two days. Global Medical Services is dedicated to the promotion and expansion of AED programs. They are a very simple way to save lives, that’s the bottom line. Keep your eyes peeled for this sign: