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AEDs in Airports and Aircraft

Published on 1st October 2021

While most of the population tend to have two feet on the ground most of the time, there are often points in our modern lives where we’re airborne. The world is now a very small place, and travelling by air to the other side of the planet is deemed as normal as popping to your local shop.

Holidays, work commitments, gap years, visiting relatives or friends – all reasons that many of us happily hop onto planes on a regular basis. For some of us it’s no big deal, but for others, we actually feel like our life is in the laps of the gods and it’s a scary ordeal.

Whether you’re travelling with a known heart condition or not, you want to know that when your heart starts racing on that runway at takeoff, it’s in very safe hands.

And you definitely want to know that as you’ll be heading towards heights of 35,000 feet and more, the plane is equipped to keep that precious heart of yours ticking should the worst happen.

Medical Emergencies In The Air

There’s no need for alarm though – medical emergencies are a rare occurrence. So rare there’s not a lot of evidence around the numbers as reporting them isn’t mandatory, but studies indicate that they happen to 1 person per 10-40,000 passengers.

But let’s be realistic too. When you think that there were 4.3 billion air passengers in 2018 prior to the pandemic, you soon realise there’s a practical need to cover a small, but inevitable risk.

We all know that as soon as that plane is in the air, there is no ambulance to blue light us to our rescue, and the chances of a doctor being on board are left to sheer luck. We wouldn’t be able to fly with confidence unless we knew that the airlines had planned ahead to keep us safe in one of the remotest locations you could find.

AEDs On Aircraft

The American Heart Foundation states that there could be as many as 1,000 cardiac arrest incidents happening internationally per year in airborne planes. Known heart conditions are often exacerbated by the stress of the imminent flight and even if you don’t mind flying, the thought that you are cut off from most of the medical access we have on the ground is a valid and very real fear.

Many people with heart conditions will understand that in the event of a cardiac arrest, help absolutely has to reach you within minutes as the chances of survival plummet rapidly towards zero – without early defibrillation and CPR, a patients chances of survival drops dramatically with every passing minute. 

In this scenario, AEDs are your key to survival – they are the only form of treatment that gives victims of sudden cardiac arrest a chance of survival. The lives of passengers and crew in this situation will depend on there being an accessible Automated External Defibrillator on board the plane.

The challenges of being airborne will be irrelevant with a Lifeline AED being available as rescuers will be equipped with the equipment and instructions to give them the confidence needed should a passenger become a victim to sudden cardiac arrest.

Compulsory AEDs On-Board Aircraft

Unfortunately for many of the global jet setters amongst us, the legislation surrounding AEDs being compulsory on aircraft worldwide is vague. Despite the number of mid-flight cardiac arrest victims per year becoming too significant to ignore, many countries still don’t require airlines to carry them.

What is stipulated by The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) though is that when a defibrillator is on board, it has to meet certain criteria. The configuration of Lifeline VIEW and Lifeline ECG and the fact that they come with a battery pack as standard means they are certified for use within civil aviation.  Many transportation companies such as Easyjet and Etihad airlines choose Lifeline AEDs and use them widely in their airports, aviation-related corporate offices and aircraft ground operations too.

Equipped For Airborne Cardiac Emergencies

As a leading UK based medical equipment supplier, Martek Lifecare designed the revolutionary Lifeline VIEW automated external defibrillator specifically for remote locations such as airborne aircraft. The transportation sector is a prime example of needing to plan for all eventualities in advance whether it’s aviation, rail or road and with its unique video screen built into the device to offer clear, concise visual instructions on how to use the unit, the Lifeline VIEW can be used by a non-medical bypasser or child.

The Lifeline VIEW is the very first AED to provide step by step visual feedback and give clear video instructions for performing CPR, rescue breathing and external defibrillation. Using voice commands to supplement the visual instructions, the VIEW uses the full-colour video screen to take rescuers through every step of the rescue. 

As the most advanced device from the non-professional selection of the Lifeline range of defibrillators, the Lifeline VIEW can be used easily by anyone. Whether they are first responders or untrained bystanders, the VIEW can guide the most novice of users through the whole life-saving procedure, providing reassurance of what needs to be done during the emergency.

Steve Coulson, Director at Martek Lifecare shares that”A number of transportation companies are realising the benefits of having an automated external defibrillator on site and the Lifeline VIEW is ideal for those environments where audio instructions alone are not enough such as airports, trains and warehouses” 

Martek Lifecare believes that with the sheer numbers of people travelling every day, it is vital that flight attendants, pilots and airport employees all have access to resuscitative devices of a high quality to treat sudden cardiac arrest. 

Lifeline AEDs are reliable, cost-effective and simple to use even for non-professionals which really could save many lives each year mid-flight. If you’d like to know more about purchasing or renting AEDs for your workforce or services, you can get in touch here or email us at [email protected].