Design & DIY

Defibrillator for shared use at the lake

Is it a good idea to buy a defibrillator for shared use at the lake?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that can identify cardiac rhythms and is designed to deliver the appropriate shock to correct abnormal electrical activity in the heart. AEDs are simple and safe. Laypeople can be trained to use them in a few hours and, even without training, someone can use an AED just by following the prompts on the device. The device will only advise the operator to deliver a shock if the heart is in a rhythm that can be corrected by defibrillation. And most AEDs are programmed to do maintenance self-tests on a regular basis to ensure they’re working properly.

Before buying, though, consider the issues that can make sharing a defibrillator on a cottage lake impractical. AEDs make sense in places where cottagers tend to congregate, such as a community centre or a sailing club. Used quickly, an AED boosts the chance of survival for a patient in cardiac arrest to 85 per cent. But if it had to be transported any distance, time might run out.

Talk with cottage neighbours about how, as a group, you would deal with an emergency. Consider whether response times render an AED practical in your situation. If not, there are still steps your association can take to prepare, such as putting an emergency plan in place and contacting local emergency services to make sure they know how to get to you.