Third Annual ASHI Conference Brings World’s Top AED Manufacturers Together - Highly Competitive Industry Panel Agrees on the Benefits of Universal AED Access

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The American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI) held its third annual member conference in St. Petersburg on February 16 Â? 18. This yearÂ?s conference was the biggest to date and it marked a number of firsts for the health and safety education industry. Most notably was a panel discussion on AEDs and the role they play in public health and safety. This panel consisted of representatives from the worldÂ?s five top AED manufacturers.

– The American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI) held its third annual member conference in St. Petersburg on February 16 – 18. This year’s conference was the biggest to date and it marked a number of firsts for the health and safety education industry. Most notably was a panel discussion on AEDs and the role they play in public health and safety. This panel consisted of representatives from the world’s five top AED manufacturers.

Sitting at the same table and reaching a consensus on a variety of issues were representatives from Cardiac Science, Medtronic, Philips, Welch-Allen and Zoll. Ground rules for the panel, which was moderated by ASHI chief Ralph Shenefelt, were simple; no product or company comparisons, questions were to be addressed in an AED brand neutral fashion and there were to be scientific debates. Using those ground rules, the panel started by discussing the role of education in the deployment of AEDs. There was an overwhelming consensus that one of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of an AED deployment was education. Whether deploying AEDs in a PAD environment or in a corporate setting, the entire panel agreed that AED training was of paramount importance. Discussion progressed further to the role of AEDs in general as tool in support of public health and safety policy. Again, the entire group agreed that the importance of AEDs is understated and that it is a very positive sign that AEDs are becoming more visible and widely accepted. During this discussion a question was posed from the audience relating to the merits of having "an AED" available in case of an emergency, regardless of brand. The panelists were unanimous, should they or a loved one experience sudden cardiac arrest they would prefer to have an AED, regardless of brand, available versus no AED at all.

To summarize the panel discussion, it was jovial, good-natured and involved some spirited ribbing between panelists. The points on which everyone agreed were that regardless of brand or technology, any AED is better than no AED and a trained responder is better than a non-trained responder. It was great that ASHI was able to bring together the leaders in the AED industry and it shows that the neutrality of ASHI leads to consensus on important topics even between highly competitive organizations.

The American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI) is a non-profit association of professional safety and health educators providing nationally recognized training programs through more than 5,000 approved Training Centers around the world. ASHI is headquartered in Holiday, Florida. ASHI was formally established as a partnering association of safety and health instructors in the state of Florida in 1996 to continually improve safety and health education by promoting high standards for members, principals of sound research for curriculum development and the professional development of safety and health instructors worldwide. Learn more about ASHI at http://www.ashinstitute.org

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Michael Bush