AED (noun) 1. Acronym for automated external defibrillator, a portable device that can jump-start a heart in cardiac arrest.

BE PREPARED

A portable device called an automated external defibrillator, which delivers an electric current to the heart, could be a life saver if one of your attendees goes into sudden cardiac arrest. Once the purview of paramedics and police officers, AEDs are now extremely user-friendly, and many safety-conscious public facilities, including hotels, cruise ships, and convention centers, are purchasing these laptop-size machines and training staff as first responders.

SITE INSPECTION QUESTION

Does your meeting hotel or resort have an AED on property? Have you asked? It's smart contingency planning to be aware that the machine is not available, or better yet, to know that it is.

SAFER SKIES

All airliners with at least one flight attendant must carry an AED as standard emergency equipment, according to a Federal Aviation Administration rule that went into effect in mid-April. Commuter planes are exempt. Most airlines have already voluntarily installed AEDs. American Airlines outfitted its planes in 1996, and since then the machines have resuscitated 47 cardiac arrest victims.

THE FACTS

Every minute that passes before defibrillation reduces a patient's survival rate by 7 percent to 10 percent. The American Heart Association believes that 100,000 lives could be saved each year if AEDs were in more public buildings.

HOTELS WITH A HEART

Carlson Hotels Worldwide last fall completed installation of AEDs at 23 U.S. properties, including the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis, Radisson Lord Baltimore Plaza Hotel in Baltimore, and Radisson Warwick Hotel Philadelphia. The company plans to extend the program gradually.

SHOCKINGLY EASY

AEDs are literally simple enough for a child to use. A study of sixth-grade students, reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that after one minute of instruction, it took the children less than 30 seconds longer than a trained professional to apply a shock that could restore a heartbeat.

Sources: National Center for Early Defibrillation, www.early-defib.org; Federal Occupational Health, www.foh.dhhs.gov; Carlson Hotels Worldwide

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