Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Sports & Fitness Facilities Expert Article

This article discusses the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in gyms, fitness centers, and recreational facilities and examines the framework around which relevant forensic investigations are conducted.

AED in Fitness Facilities Expert Witness

Emergency Action Plans and AEDs

Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) provide a course of action for individuals and organizations when faced with calamity. In the fitness industry, a well-developed and executed EAP can be the difference between life and death for participants who are seriously injured or suffer other acute health conditions. The scope of EAPs will vary somewhat across facilities to address the potential emergency situations specific to each location, but the inclusion of an Automated External Defibrillator should be part of the EAP for every fitness facility.

Emergency Preparation

In the sport, fitness and recreation industry, it is not uncommon for people to be injured and even collapse during exercise. While the incidence of heart attack is higher in older age groups, the Mayo Clinic notes that when younger populations suffer heart attacks, they mostly commonly occur during physical activity, such as participating in a sporting event. (Mayo)

All sport and fitness facilities should properly train their staff in CPR and the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). However, training alone does not suffice; drills for emergency readiness must be rehearsed. Additionally, it is important that proper signage is conspicuously posted, demonstrating how to administer CPR and the location of the AED.

Emergency management provides coaches, trainers, and other related personnel with the essential information they need to properly respond in the event of injury or emergency. Knowing how to assess and handle an emergency situation is critical; proper emergency response will increase the chance of survival. The Emergency Action Plan is a necessary component for personnel to understand their role in the event that an athlete or client is injured. All personnel should be prepared to react to an injury, know to file an incident report, and always document any extenuating circumstances.

What is an Emergency Action Plan?

An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards. [29 CFR 1910.38(a)] The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during emergencies. Well developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will help to provide the best possible outcome during emergency situations.

Elements of a Well Developed EAP:

  • The role of each person in the event of an emergency (injury, heart attack, cardiac arrest).
  • A map of all entrances to alert medical personnel the easiest access to the site.
  • Directions on how to activate EMS/911.
  • Communication instructions: what happened, the condition of the victim and what care is being given.
  • The inclusion of signs where emergency equipment is located and verification that equipment is easily accessible.

AED Best Practices:

  • Emergency preparation plans should be rehearsed (announced and unannounced) on a regular basis and followed up with timely critiques and corrective actions.
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) must be available in all sport, fitness and recreational facilities.
  • Be certain to replace batteries in a timely manner, and document testing the equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • All training staff and employees need to be trained and certified on AED use.

Preparedness can make the difference between life and death. An EAP defines the standard of care for the management of emergencies in sports and fitness facilities and allows all personnel to understand their role when an emergency arises.

Fitness Facility Expert Witness Investigations

The experts at Robson Forensic are frequently retained to conduct investigations when individuals are injured at health clubs, school facilities, and other fitness facilities. The scope of our investigations will typically include an analysis of how the incident happened, the condition of the equipment and environment in which it occurred, and the way the facility managed the emergency situation.

Submit an inquiry to discuss your case with an expert.


View All Articles

Smith Press Machine: Equipment & Safety Features

By David Ester
Expert Overview

This document provides an introduction to the Smith Press Machine, including safety features that are commonly examined in relevant forensic investigations. Smith Press Machine Casework The sports and…

Treadmill Safety: Preventing Treadmill Injuries

By Robson Forensic
Expert Article

The experts at Robson Forensic are regularly retained to investigate injuries involving treadmills. This article focuses on the actions of treadmill users and fitness facility operators. We also…

Treadmills & Children: Entrapment Injuries

By Harold Ehrlich
Expert Overview

Treadmill entrapment injuries have been long-known and continue to make headlines today. These incidents can be prevented by the implementation of a relatively simple fixed barrier guard, which has…