A year after Congress passed legislation requiring the General Services Administration (GSA), the nation''s largest owner and lessor of office space, to stock its public buildings with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, has begun a six-month research effort into placing these devices in private, commercial buildings.
In addition to GSA, some states and localities already require the presence of AEDs in public buildings
An AED is designed to deliver an electric shock to the heart of a person suffering a heart attack. The shock helps the heart regain a regular beat. To work, the operator attaches the machine to the victim and the machine determines if the victim''s heart would benefit from a shock. An operator does not need a medical background, but is required to be trained on how to use the machine.
Because the machine determines if the victim''s heart needs to be shocked, the operator may hook the machine to a person he or she suspects of possibly suffering from a heart attack without endangering the victim''s heath. The machine will not deliver a shock unless the victim is in cardiac arrest.
"As we investigate this issue, we will not only look for the opportunity to develop education programs on the proper use of AEDs, but we will push for Good Samaritan legislation to provide liability protection for building personnel and other individuals using the equipment," said BOMA president Richard Baier, managing director of CB Richard Ellis in Kansas City, Mo. "Without the proper specter of a lawsuit should the equipment fail, we believe more building personnel would be willing to get the training, have the devices onsite and would jump in and try to save someone in a cardiac emergency."
Preliminary recommendations will be made at the association''s annual convention in Baltimore June 17-19.
During the six-month research period, however, BOMA is seeking partners for research, education and training. Interested parties should contact Marco Giamberardino, director of codes and standards for BOMA, at (202) 326-6356 or at [email protected] .
by Melissa Martin