If you work on the high floor of an office building and witness someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, do you genuinely think the paramedics can:
- Receive a phone call from 9-1-1
- Navigate through traffic
- Take an elevator to your floor
- Perform life-saving activities on the victim…in less than 10 minutes?
Yes, call us highly skeptical of that too.
Let’s face it. A whole lot of variables need to go right in order for emergency medical services to be performing on a sudden cardiac arrest victim in your office 10 minutes from now. As in very little traffic to work around (even with emergency sirens blaring, vehicles don’t always move out of the way as they should), no time waiting for the elevator and a speedy elevator at that.
That’s why it’s so imperative that as many people as possible who work on a high office floor know how to operate a HeartStart defibrillator (also known as an AED) and perform CPR. If they don’t, it’s almost impossible to save a life without acting before paramedics arrive.
Know The True 10 Minutes For Survival
We’ve frequently mentioned that once a person goes into sudden cardiac arrest, the victim has no more than 10 minutes from the time of collapse to be resuscitated in order to survive. That’s because for every minute that passes without the use of a defibrillator and CPR, the victim’s chance of survival drops by about 10%.
Unfortunately, most people are measuring this 10-minute survival window entirely wrong.
The 10-minute window doesn’t mean the time from door-to-door that the paramedics have to arrive. Why? Because they still have to get to your floor! Those precious minutes aren’t factored in when they should be. Instead, the 10-minute window refers to the time from when the victim collapses to the moment that they are receiving a shock from a HeartStart defibrillator.
The Anatomy Of Saving A Life
Breaking it down, we can see how literally every minute counts.
1 Minute – The victim of sudden cardiac arrest is discovered (we’re thinking optimistically here and hoping this discovery occurs right away). The rescuer determines if breathing has stopped and looks for signs of air movement. If the victim is unresponsive, a nearby co-worker, friend or family member knows to instruct someone else to call 9-1-1 and retrieve a HeartStart defibrillator.
2 Minutes – This minute is huge for success rates. If the victim can receive a shock from the AED within 2 minutes, studies have shown a survival rate of more than 90%. Consider how crucial this is for where an AED is located on your floor – it should be close enough to retrieve and start operating on a victim immediately. We can’t know exactly where in the office that a victim will experience sudden cardiac arrest but we do know where the bulk of people spend their day in common areas.
Does someone have to run down a long hallway to retrieve the AED and come back? How much time has elapsed? If it’s that far away from an area where most of your staff congregates, it just isn’t going to cut it.
Let’s take a moment to pause and really think about what has to go just right in 2 minutes’ time.
You have to hope that you’ll be close to a victim, remember to tell another person to call 9-1-1 in a panicked setting, be in proximity to a Heartstart defibrillator so someone can get it and bring it to the victim, then operate that AED flawlessly.
3-4 Minutes – Now we’re encountering another danger zone where a high risk of brain damage can occur in the victim for every minute that passes without oxygen. By this point at the latest, you need to be operating an AED and administering CPR for the best chance of a positive outcome.
5-6 Minutes – Even though there is technically a 10-minute survival window at best, if we don’t resuscitate the victim by this point, a much higher probability of brain damage could occur.
You’re starting to see why life saving training from SOS is so critical. Any deviation or hiccup in the flow of attempting to save a life can put the victim’s chances of survival at a much lower lower percentage. Education and practice is key.
According to recent data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) Technical Assistance Center, the average response time by emergency medical services nationwide is close to 9 minutes in urban areas. Against the context of a 10-minute window for sudden cardiac arrest survival, especially in a high-rise office building, there’s just no way around it – you absolutely have to become the first responder before the traditional first responders in order to save a life.
Preparation At The Highest Level
At SOS Technologies, the best plan of action we recommend for businesses on a high floor is to engage us in a full “sweep” of your office. Our safety consultants will evaluate the best locations for AEDs and ensure your office staff is fully trained in how to administer CPR to perfection.
Remember, during a sudden cardiac arrest event, you don’t have room for error. So even if someone says they know CPR, it’s always better to be on the safe side and get your whole team trained on performing CPR and operating a HeartStart defibrillator. We can also examine your first aid stock to recommend items that you’re without.
So call SOS today at 888.705.6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s A Matter Of Life and Life.