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Companies Bring Life-Saving Machine into the Workplace

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DURHAM — More than a quarter of a million people die every year as the result of cardiac arrest. Doctors estimate that early intervention could save half of those lives.

Part of that intervention is the defibrillator, a machine that shocks the heart and causes it to resume its natural rhythm. The machines are inplanesand shopping malls, and soon they may be in your office.

Theautomated external defibrillator, or the AED, is making its way into the workplace. Durham Exchange Club Industries is one of six companies in Durham County training its employees to use the life-saving machine.

"In cardiac arrest situations, as in an irregular heartbeat, the only treatment for that situation is defibrillation," says Carey Aselage,American Red Crosssafety director. "We're really talking about saving lives."

"I think it's incredible that we've advanced to the point that it's so easy to use and accessible," company CEO Ken Gregory says. "It does not take a trained medical professional to save someone's life."

The staff at Durham Exchange Club Industries works with disabled adults and say it is crucial to be ready for medical emergencies.

"You never know when an emergency is going to occur," says employee Hilbert Reddick. "It's better to be prepared than not prepared."

The machines range from about $3,000 to $3,300. The Red Cross provides training for free.

"The cost factor is not very much and if it saves one life I think it's worth it. I think it's very practical for any company to do this," says employee Sonya Beckford.

The Red Cross says more and more companies are expressing an interest in being trained on the AED. Business owners hope that, by offering the machine and the training, they can get a break on insurance rates in the future.


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