A professional tanker driver unloads at an Ontario plant. He’s from the States and far from home. Unloading can be laborious at times, especially following a long run and all the rigors of the road. After unloading and taking a few moments to chat with a fellow driver, he climbs back into his rig and prepares to leave.
The driver he was just talking to notices something is wrong. Suddenly, the tanker driver is slouched in his seat – the victim of a heart attack. Scenes like this play out all the time and from this point, then can have one of two outcomes.
In this recent, real-life scenario, it was a fortunate outcome. Several employees at the Home Hardware paint division plant to which the driver was delivering were volunteer firefighters. And the facility had been equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Witnesses leapt into action and were able to administer CPR as well as defibrillation. The driver survived and is reportedly doing well.
The above story was relayed to me by Kevin Hall, vice-president of Keith Hall Transport, himself a volunteer firefighter. He tells me these AEDs are incredibly easy to use (even with no training) and not overly expensive. You can get them for as little as $1,500 nowadays.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, when combined with CPR, an AED can increase the likelihood of saving a heart attack victim’s life by 75% or more over CPR alone. The same group also says: “Defibrillation improves survival rates by up to 30% if delivered in the first few minutes. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by 7 to 10%. Making defibrillators easily accessible has the potential to save thousands of lives.”
With the proven effectiveness of AEDs and the ever-decreasing cost of the equipment, I have to wonder why more terminals aren’t equipped with the devices – especially flatdeck terminals and others that involve a lot of hand bombing and manual loading and unloading. Efforts have been underway to get these life-saving devices into every hockey rink, where out-of-shape middle-aged men have been dropping dead for years. Why don’t we start putting the same emphasis on getting them into loading facilities, where out-of-shape, middle-aged men are also regularly exerting a lot of energy? Something to think about.
If I’ve persuaded you to consider implementing an AED program at your facility, here’s a great document from the Heart and Stroke Foundation that will get you started: http://tinyurl.com/33rt8xs. You hope you never have to use it but if you do, there’s a very good chance you’ll eventually save someone’s life.
Do you work for (or deliver to) a company that has AEDs on-hand? If so, please share your observations/experiences.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies