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FAA to Install AEDs in Agency Facilities

The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) will be installed in all agency facilities with 50 or more employees during the next year.

"Our focus on aviation safety includes the safety and well-being of our own employees. The unexpected and sudden moments in which defibrillation can be effective require quick thought and decisive action--traits the FAA workforce is famous for," said FAA Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell. "Together our labor groups and FAA management have made a very positive step to ensure our employees have enhanced safety in the workplace, and I applaud all parties for bringing this about."

The deployment of AEDs is planned for a three-year period. In the first year, FAA will put AEDs in facilities with 50 or more employees--about 68 percent of the workforce. The agency will then evaluate implementation costs and whether a sufficient number of employees are volunteering to be responders. Pending positive results of the evaluation, FAA intends to deploy AEDs to the remaining FAA facilities with 10 or more employees during the following two years, which cover 97 percent of agency personnel. FAA says its facilities experience an average of one sudden cardiac arrest per year among more than 46,000 employees.

The number of AEDs installed will depend on the geographic layout of a particular facility and the number of employees working there, the agency says. The goal is to be able to retrieve the AED and have a trained volunteer apply the device (if appropriate), all within three to five minutes of finding a sudden cardiac arrest victim. While FAA hopes enough employees will volunteer as lay responders to have good facility and shift coverage, the agency cannot guarantee a trained responder will be on site at all times at all facilities with AEDs, it says.

One or more vendors will provide the AEDs, cabinets, training, tracking, medical oversight, and replacement parts. Estimated cost of the contracts is $15 million over a 10-year period.

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