Defib For Life is attending the Sports Medicine Australia Conference next week to promote the urgent need for sports clubs and fitness centres to have a defibrillator on site.
The Australian Fitness Industry Risk Management (AFIRM), which is backed by research partners Fitness Australia and Sports Medicine Australia, highlights that
“being prepared for medical emergencies is crucial in reducing risk and potential liability” and that “there is both a professional and legal need to have medical emergency plans in place.”
These types of medical emergencies include medical conditions which lead to cardiac arrest.
AFIRM add that “fitness business and professionals have a legal obligation to plan for and provide appropriate emergency care when these situations occur”.
A well thought out, documented, medical emergency action plan (EAP) that considers all legally foreseeable medical emergencies and is well communicated to facility personnel, is critically important to managing risk.”
Paul Jones believes that “a health club’s emergency response program should include a defibrillation plan using an AED as protection for their members and guests (as) without treatment at the scene by club staff, the victim may have only minutes to live.
“With quick response by gym staff using an AED can increase survival rates to well over 50%.
“(As) the only definitive proven treatment for SCA is defibrillation, with well-trained staff, fitness facilities with AEDs can respond extremely quickly to victims of sudden cardiac arrest.”
In spite of this, many facilities are concerned about installing defibrillators, for fears of cost, liability and/or the ongoing need to train staff.
However, as Jones concludes “imagine the effect on your club and members if you lost someone in the gym to SCA and then imagine the feeling if you saved someone.
“As a result, a defibrillator should be part every health club’s equipment.”
AFIRM advice on Automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
Scientific evidence shows an increased survival rate for individuals who receive electrical defibrillation in the first few minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Automated External defibrillator (AED) training is now common during first-aid/CPR training.
There are no laws in Australia requiring fitness centres to install AEDs. However, several international and professional organisations have ‘strongly encouraged’ larger centres to install AEDs. AED placement in a fitness centre is particularly important if the clientele are older or have a ‘high-risk’ profile, for example, clients with cardiovascular or respiratory disease.
In health/fitness facilities, where staff members have been recruited to use an AED, managers must ensure that their staff have received adequate training from accredited education providers in order to show good practice in case of an emergency situation.