Did you know heart disease causes one in four deaths each year? How about that 245,000 people in Wisconsin have coronary heart disease? Given those stats it shouldn’t be shocking that over 800,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack every year. American Heart Month was created to help us reflect on, prepare for and mitigate the risks of heart disease and the prevalence of heart attacks. How can you, as an employer, help your employees, though?
With so many people suffering from a heart attack every year, it is important to be prepared in the event an emergency occurs at your facility. Doing so means having AEDs accessible to employees throughout the facility. Our Executive Director, Aaron Huebner, who also happens to be a volunteer firefighter, suggests the Cardiac Sciences G5 AED. The G5 is designed to follow the level of the person using it. The AED gives feedback on the depth and speed of compressions if the rescuer needs direction. If the person responding has more experience, the AED jumps straight to the point the individual is at. For example, if someone needs to be told to remove pads and place them on the person, great! The directions will verbally state to do so. If the person automatically takes the pads out and places them appropriately, the AED skips to the next step. The device also self-tests every day including ensuring the pads are still functional so you can have confidence that the equipment is ready in an emergency.
While AED’s are designed to help anyone successfully use the device and preform CPR, training your employees in CPR skills will increase the quality of care received by an employee experiencing cardiac arrest at work. Encouraging employees to take a CPR/AED class every two years will ensure your staff are ready to act if the need arises.
Part of training should also include educating all staff on the risk factors of heart disease and ways to prevent it. Consider inviting a healthcare provider to present (virtually, of course) to your staff about heart health.
Encourage Healthy Behaviors
One simple way to improve heart health is simply by walking for 30 minutes a day. The best part? It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes straight! Even encouraging employees to take 5 or 10 minute walks a few times a day will improve their heart health. 1 One way employers can encourage this behavior is by creating a “steps” contest. Steps can be counted by individuals or departments to encourage friendly, healthy competition among employees. Companies can also encourage healthy eating by asking employees to share low sodium, low saturated fat, and limited sugar meal and snack ideas. 1 Sharing healthy recipes and engaging healthy competition will improve employee health and will build connections among employees.
If you are interested in an AED consultation, purchasing an AED, or training your employees, you can reach us at 608.258.3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Heart Disease Facts,” CDC, Last modified September, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20someone,heart%20attack%20every%2040%20seconds.&text=Every%20year%2C%20about%20805%2C000%20Americans%20have%20a%20heart%20attack.
“Taking Care of Our Hearts, Together,” NHLBI Publications and Resources, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, last modified January, 2020, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/all-publications-and-resources/taking-care-hearts-together.
“Wisconsin State Card,” State-based Coronary Heart Disease Infocards, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, last modified 2019 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/CHD-state-cards