Monday, March 22, 2010

The legalities of AED's in NH part 2

Today's post is Part 2 in a series on the Legalese of owning or acquiring an AED in New Hampshire. Today's post is on:

Automated External Defibrillator

Section 153-A:30
153-A:30 Training. – Every person, association, corporation or other organization that acquires an automated external defibrillator shall require anticipated responders expected to use the automated external defibrillator to receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator use. This section shall not limit the use of the automated external defibrillator to the anticipated responder nor shall this section limit the provisions of RSA 153-A:31.

Source. 2000, 302:4, eff. June 21, 2000. 2002, 156:5, eff. July 14, 2002. 2008, 207:2, eff. Aug. 15, 2008.

So simply put, if your organization purchases an AED they must provide CPR and AED training. However use of the AED is not limited to only those who have taken the training.

Friday, March 19, 2010

the Legalese on the AED in New Hampshire

So this weekend I've embarked on a research project. During classes there are always questions about liability and Good Samaritan Laws. So after a little digging in the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated I thought I'd share a new AED law every few days. So today's post is on (drum roll please) .....

Automated External Defibrillator

Section 153-A:31
153-A:31 Liability Limited. – Any person who, in good faith and without compensation, renders emergency care by the use of an automated external defibrillator shall not be liable for civil damages for any acts or omissions unless the acts or omissions were grossly negligent or willful and wanton. Any person, association, corporation or other organization that acquires and maintains an automated external defibrillator for emergency care shall not be liable for civil damages other than for gross negligence or willful and wanton acts or omissions. This section shall not limit civil liability protection provided by any other law.

Source. 2000, 302:4, eff. June 21, 2000. 2002, 156:5, eff. July 14, 2002.

So what does this mean? It means you can't be held liable for using an AED as long as you follow the directions and/or voice prompts on the machine. You cannot be held liable if your business or organization has AED's on location.

However you ARE liable if you have an AED and you don't use it when someone is in Cardiac Arrest. Or if you bought an AED for your business, but never had it checked regularly and when it was needed the batteries were dead, or the pads were expired.

There are a lot more laws on AED's. The gist on this one is please don't be afraid to use an AED when someone collapses and is not breathing. There is more legal risk to you if you don't use an AED when one is available.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Do you work out with ID?

Earlier this month an injured bicyclist was found on the side of the road. He was critically injured. Bystanders called 911, CPR was performed, he was resuscitated and transported to the local hospital. For over a day he was in the hospital and no one knew who he was. It took an article in the local paper to have someone come and identify who he was. Unfortunately his injuries proved to be fatal and he passed away a few days later.

Now that the weather is getting warmer many of us are outside enjoying it and getting some great exercise. This week alone I know I've been out with the kids walking around town. While I usually remember to bring my cell phone with me, one thing I never think to take with me is identification. It doesn't matter if you're a runner, bicyclist or walker; most of us don't think to take identification when we go out to exercise.

There are several companies who make medical and identification bands, jewelry or tags for runners and cyclists. There are bracelets that you can fill in, you can subscribe to or that have USB to detail all your contact and emergency information.

Please carry, wear or attach some form of ID when you exercise. It's a small thing that can make a big difference in an emergency.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 3/3/10

2 very large sailboats were knocked off their supports during last Thursday's wind storm.

How long is a CPR class?

I am often asked how long a CPR class is. Typically they can run anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. It depends on the size of the class and the material covered. My classes due to run the full length of time because I like to provide a lot of hands on time and I want to make sure everyone's questions are answered. Some instructors or training sites may list their classes as only 2 hours. My guess is that they have much smaller classes or a lot more CPR equipment than I have.

No matter what the length of the course. A good CPR class should have the following components:

  • Hands on practice. Just watching a demonstration of a skill is not the same as learning it. Each participant in the class should have hands on practice time.

  • Questions and answers. If you have a question the instructor should answer it. Keep in mind that while instructors do go through training to teach CPR, we aren't perfect and we don't know the answer to every question that could possibly be asked. Personally I like a good question that stumps me. It gives me something to research after the class and helps me to be a good instructor.

  • Time. This might sound odd, but I'm referring to is hands on practice time. The instructor should not rush you through the skills, the idea is that you practice and LEARN, not feel rushed to practice once or twice and then you're done.

  • Equipment in good working order. You can't learn how to do chest compressions or how to breathe into the mannequin if it doesn't work.

  • Enough equipment for the group. The courses are set up to have equipment shared. Usually up to 3 people can share 1 mannequin. However each participant should have their own barrier device - those are not meant to be shared. If the instructor wants 4 or more participants per mannequin then there will not be enough hands on practice time to learn the skills.

  • Evaluation. Most CPR programs have a course evaluation at the end. Don't worry about anyone's feelings here, be honest. This helps the instructor to improve if improvements are needed and gives them feedback if they're doing a good job.

No matter what the length of the course you should leave the class feeling confident that you can perform the skills of CPR if the need arose. If you don't then make sure you put that on the evaluation form or contact the training center or agency that offered the course.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless cause that is a byproduct of burning fuel. That fuel can be propane, gas, gasoline, wood or kerosene. Many of us have appliances or heat sources that burn this fuel, but because they are installed they are properly vented to the outside so as to not fill our homes with this deadly gas. Sadly every so often I see a story of someone who died from carbon monoxide. It is a tragedy that could have been avoided. There were two stories in the news this past week, 2 people lost their lives in a fire caused by using a propane heater indoors and 1 family was saved because one family member recognized their symptoms as possible carbon monoxide poisoning and contacted their fire department.

During power outages DO NOT use an outdoor appliance in your home to generate power or heat. Generators, grills (gas and charcoal) and propane heaters are not meant to be used indoors.

After storms or heavy snowfall make sure the area around your appliance vents is clear of obstruction.

Make sure all appliances that use fuel are properly installed and properly vented.

You can read more on my Examiner article or visit the EPA website.