AED Compliance Program Protects in a Fatal Case
One Santa Barbara Business’s Safety Training Awareness
Glen Fritzler of Truth Aquatics in Santa Barbara runs a tight ship. His company runs boat charters to the Channel Islands and beyond, taking SCUBA divers, fishermen and other water sport enthusiasts out to engage in their hobby of choice. Glen knows the risks, and there are some with water sports. That’s why he demands that his boat Captains and their crews follow strict safety guidelines. He pays for all of his crews to attend annual CPR and First Aid training and he’s outfitted each of his vessels with emergency equipment, including an AED (defibrillator).
Captains and Crews Trained in Use of AEDs
In 2016, Truth Aquatics contracted with Survival CPR & First Aid, LLC to conduct ongoing emergency medical training and to evaluate the AED’s on each boat. During training, the instructor commented on how the Captains and crews took the training so seriously. The training was “scenario-based” and occurred on board, which allowed the boat crews to work together on simulated medical emergencies. They practiced resuscitation and bleeding control, but also rehearsed their own emergency procedures.
AED Evaluation by an Expert
Eric Thomson, consultant and instructor at Survival CPR & First Aid, evaluated the company AEDs and recommended that they be replaced with ones that met the new American Heart Association guidelines. Eric also recommended that they sign up for his company’s AED liability compliance program. Truth Aquatics did upgrade their AEDs and within a very short time met the requirements of local, state and federal regulations. This was accomplished in thanks to Survival CPR & First Aid’s compliance program that provides regular checks with clients to help them remain free of civil liability in the event that the client renders first aid and uses an AED.
Trained for Emergencies
On August 17, 2017 one of the boat crews used the very same emergency skills it had rehearsed earlier in the summer when a 58-year-old diver was pulled out of the water after becoming unresponsive during a dive in the Southern Channel Islands, near Catalina. Captain Glen and his crew were well prepared to perform CPR and use their AED, but sadly the diver did not survive, despite having the additional resources of a physician on board and a helicopter nearby.
When an AED Will and Will Not Work
Patient without any significant heart rhythm
An AED will not work in this condition.
Heart Rhythm During CPR
Results of CPR, a rhythm that the AED could shock
Protected from AED Liability
Survival CPR & First Aid made the required notifications to the State and retrieved the AED following the event. Although it was a tragic event, we were was able to notify the crews that the AED data showed good CPR was provided which allowed the AED to give several shocks.
The bottom line was that Captain Glen and his crew did everything right. The crews must work hard to overcome their grief over this stressful event, but at least they don’t have to worry about liability for using the AED. The compliance program, which documented all the requirements of California law, was in place to protect them.