The start of 2015 is the perfect time for businesses to assess their current automated external defibrillator (AED) preparedness.

Because of the often-unexpected nature of heart-related events, all aspects of the emergency plan and related procedures should be ready at any time.

With that in mind, here are some New Year's Resolutions that your business should be making to promote the health and safety of employees, patrons, visitors, family and friends.

Evaluate Current AED

The value of having an AED within a business is enormous. It can save precious time before emergency personnel arrive and can provide medical intervention that can save a life.

If a business does not own an AED, the first step is to purchase a unit.

If a business already owns an AED, the initial step is to evaluate its age and effectiveness. An AED is only as useful as the function it serves, and an outdated or malfunctioning unit poses the danger of working improperly, not working at all, or worse, causing damage.

The great news is that AED units can be affordable, especially if purchased refurbished. This lessens the cost with equally effective and tested units.

Emergency Procedures

Once the AED is in place, or replaced if needed, emergency procedures should be carefully designed.

Calling for emergency personnel, knowing when and if to implement the AED device and how to do it are all parts of the emergency procedure.

The same way businesses have emergency procedures in place in the event of a fire, flood or other emergency, each business should have a specific plan for the use of the AED device.

Everyone Plays a Role

All employees and people regularly within a business should know how to use the AED device.

In the same way that heart-related events are unexpected, the number of staff available during an emergency may vary. The more people who know how to operate the AED device, the better the chances for the ailing person’s health.

Every person trained with the emergency procedures should know their role and which roles need to be filled within an emergency.

Some examples are knowing who is assigned to call for emergency help, who will operate the AED, who will assist, and who will direct traffic around and to the emergency.

Virtually all businesses can benefit from an in-house AED, if not simply for the comfort of knowing it exists onsite if it is ever needed.