A Case for AEDs in Big Box Stores
Warehouse stores and supermarkets see high traffic levels during most times of the year, but around the holidays these enormous multi-acre shopping meccas see a huge spike in the number of people who come in to browse, shop, and graze the sample kiosks throughout the store. Everyone knows the holidays are stressful, and we don’t eat as healthfully as we should with all the rich food and sweets we indulge in, and that can lead to a spike in heart-related issues this time of the year as well. It’s no wonder, then, that one of our large warehouse chain customers had two cardiac arrest instances in one week recently.
This particular store is well-known, with over 700 stores worldwide. Each of their locations has an automated external defibrillator and staff trained in how to respond to sudden cardiac arrest emergencies. In both instances, the person suffering the arrest was a store customer, the AED was retrieved and employed within a minute and a half, and CPR was begun immediately. Both victims were revived and awake when EMS arrived, and both survived – one after two shocks, the other after one shock. Just one of these stories would be a solid argument for having AEDs in retail outlets, but two stories in the same week are a testament to this chain’s AED program and the effectiveness of AEDs in treating sudden cardiac arrest.
But was this just a fluke? How common is sudden cardiac arrest in stores? Another customer of AED Superstore, a large, midwest grocery chain with 300 AEDs across their locations, has reported 25 usages between November 2015 and November 2016, with at least six instances where the patient was revived prior to being transported to the hospital by EMS. They ALWAYS grab the AED as a precaution whenever someone’s cardiac health could be in question during a health-related incident. This grocery chain subscribes to our Arch medical direction and oversight program which includes issuing a loaner to a subscriber when an AED is used so they are never without an AED during the data review process. Good thing too! While we were reviewing the data from one of their stores, that same store had another incident wherein they had to use the loaner AED.
We applaud the efforts of both and look forward to continuing to support these amazing companies.