How You Could Save a Life at Your Facility: Part II
Friday, August 23, 2013

Last month we ran an article in the NATCA Insider about the value of having Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in FAA facilities and how you could take advantage of the FAA Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program in order to learn how to use the life saving equipment.

This month, to continue showing you the value of the free, easy training and the ease of participating, we talked to Philadelphia ATCT/TRACON NATCA member (PHL) Mike Ransom, who is the PHL PAD program point of contact and instructor. 

Insider: How hard is the PAD program training? How much time does it take?
Ransom: The training really could not be any easier. It takes less than an hour to first complete the online portion, for which you receive duty time to complete. Following that is a 45-minute to one hour long training program done in the facility.

Insider: How did you get involved in the PAD program at your facility?
Ransom: I was one of the first at PHL to sign up for the training provided by FAA Emergency University (EU). Shortly thereafter, I was approached by an employee of FAA EU, who found out I was an EMT and former CPR instructor for the American Heart Association, and that person asked me to teach the PAD Program class at PHL to get more controllers at the facility certified.

Insider: Since you started teaching the class, how many controllers have you been able to get AED certified?
Ransom: Working with local management and NATCA to get controllers off the boards four to six at a time, I’ve been able to get about 100 people here at PHL through the AED program over the course of about four months. 

Insider: What is the number one reason people don’t want to take the training?
Ransom: People fear that if they do take the training, they will be called upon to be the one to give CPR and use the AED if the situation arises. They are afraid that they might do something wrong and hurt the person suffering from cardiac arrest. But one of the first things I tell people who take my class is that the person suffering from cardiac arrest is technically already deceased, and there isn’t anything anyone can do to hurt them beyond that. Once they realize that, they are more willing to offer assistance. I also tell people that even if they only remember three percent of what I teach them, that three percent is better than doing nothing. 

Insider: What else would you say to someone who is nervous about using an AED, even after taking the class?
Ransom: The AEDs are very self-explanatory. Even though you can take the class, the AEDs are designed to be hung on the walls in all types of public places – malls, supermarkets – and are meant to be used by a passerby. If you can turn it on and calm yourself enough to follow the prompts, you can use the AED effectively without any training. The class is designed to give a person confidence in using the equipment, but also to teach people what to expect in a situation of cardiac arrest.

Insider: What would you tell people about the value of taking the AED training?
Ransom: It’s important to know that the skills that you learn in this class apply to the world outside our air traffic facilities as well. I always joke that I’m betting on my coworkers to pay attention in the class to save my life, should the time arise. The more people who are trained in this, both at work and in general, the better we all are because there are more people to look out for you when you need help.

If you’re interested in becoming AED certified at your facility, take the online training and then contact your Facility Representative to find out who is the PAD point of contact at your facility in order to sign-up for the next training class.