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How many of you know what an AED is?

AED stands for automated external defibrillator. The defibrillation or shock using an automated external defibrillator (AED) is the only effective therapy for sudden cardiac arrest.

Now, given the fact that we are in the countertop industry and not the medical field, this may seem totally irrelevant. However, more and more attention is being given to AED’s and their ability to save lives in the event of a cardiac arrest each and every day. In fact, “for each minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest decreases by 7-10%”.

As a countertop company, while you may not realize it, you have a significantly greater chance of encountering a cardiac arrest than most other businesses. No matter how automated you get, you have to admit, most shops get very hot in the summer and there is no denying that the work done in a stone or solid surface shop is physically demanding. Granted, most people working in countertop shops are in decent shape; however, nobody is immune to cardiac arrest. This fact has become all too evident over the last several years with numerous articles and news clips featuring student athletes that have gone into cardiac arrest from strenuous activity in the heat. The last person you would ever expect to have a heart attack would be a teenager, but the fact they are falling victim clearly shows nobody is immune.

So what does this have to do with your countertop company? I think it comes down to two things. 1) Your moral or ethical obligations to your employees and 2) C.Y.A. – Covering your a$!

Lets talk about your obligations to your employees. First off, I believe every employer is only required to provide two things to their employees 1) Provide a safe work environment free of discrimination and harassment, and 2) provide them the tools and training they need to do their work to the best of their abilities.

I feel that having an AED on site can help fulfill obligation #1. Employees work their tails off in the countertop industry and I think having a $1200 to $1500 AED at your shop is a small price to pay to ensure that should something go wrong, you have done everything in your power to ensure that your employee will have been given every chance to see his or her family and kids again.

Now lets talk about C.Y.A. We live in America, one of the greatest nations on the planet. Along with being the greatest nation is the fact that this country is also the most litigious nation on the planet. Lucky us! Everyone has the right to sue anyone, and they do. There are several instances where people have sued companies because a love one died from cardiac arrest and the company did not have an AED on site which (possibly) could have saved their life.

While most of the cases have only settled and not gone to trial, the costs of even entering a lawsuit can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars – even if you are 100% innocent. In which case it might have been cheaper to just have purchased an AED.

I know that this same argument can be made for just about anything and the question becomes where do you draw the line. You could bankrupt yourself buying everything you “should” have just to thwart the chance of a lawsuit.

I only bring this up because one of my fitness companies has begun offering CPR and AED certification classes and this is something I never, ever thought about when I had my countertop company and I suspect most of you have not either. Now that I have been exposed to this side of it, I really see the liability that can be present by being in a manufacturing environment and not having an AED on site and I have gotten to see what an amazing difference an AED can make in someone’s life.

I know that the price of an AED can be a big chunk of change, especially in today’s economy. If this is an expense you cannot take on at this time, I would strongly encourage you to ensure a few key people in your organization are CPR certified, which costs significantly less. Just something to think about. People are key to everything and I feel investing in them and their well-being is one of the greatest investments you will ever make, both personally and monetarily.

If you would like to learn more about CPR certification you can visit

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