Having the proper safety equipment in a health club is one to the most important things management can do to protect clients in the case of emergency.  The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is one of the newest and most effective safety devices available.

What is an AED?

An Automated External Defibrillator or AED is a device used to administer an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart. Built-in computers assess the patient's heart rhythm, judge whether defibrillation is needed, and then administer the shock. Audible and/or visual prompts guide the user through the process.


All 50 states have Good Samaritan laws in place that protect anyone who uses an AED on a victim.  The only way an individual can be sued is if they demonstrated gross negligence.  Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both.  Only the manufacturer can be sued in the event an AED fails to work properly.


On the other hand, your business can be sued if you have an AED on-site and it is not used in the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).  As previously mentioned in the protocol section of this manual, always take the AED to the scene of an incident regardless of its nature.  Even if you hook the AED up to a patient it will not shock them as along as the AED registers proper heart rhythm.


Fire Safety is a crucial part of any Emergency Action Plan and fire extinguishers are the key to fire safety.  There should be an adequate number of fire extinguishers strategically positioned throughout the facility, even in facilities that have sprinkler systems.


RECOMMENDED GUIDELINE:  According to the National Fire Protection Association, Pamphlet #10, there must be 1 fire extinguisher for every 3,000 square feet of floor space and must be located no more than 75 ft. of travel space apart.  All fire extinguishers must be ABC type.


One of the simplest and most preventable risks associated with fire extinguishers is the lack of proper maintenance.  Management should hire an outside company to come in yearly and inspect and recharge extinguishers as needed.  Fire extinguisher maintenance tags should be placed on all extinguishers with expiration dates clearly visible.


All clubs should have an adequately stocked First Aid Kit on the premises at all times.  In the event of an incident requiring First Aid, management must determine if the injured party can administer their own First Aid procedures or if they need assistance from a staff member.  If help is needed, then precautions must be taken.  If blood is present then any staff member helping the injured person must wear rubber gloves to avoid possible contact with blood-borne pathogens (AIDS, Hepatitis B, etc.).  Proper procedures should be addressed in the Emergency Action Plan.


© 2020 by The Sport Management Group, Inc. 

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