At Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the safety of passengers, guests and team members is of the foremost concern. Guests and staff can expect to feel safe, including through unanticipated health issues, because of the airport's safety and security measures. At PHL, our staff is prepared to mitigate medical emergencies by responding quickly to crises until the airport Fire/Rescue unit arrives.
According to PHL Terminal Operations Supervisor Steve Belton, “We have 106 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the airport’s public-facing areas, each of which is maintained by our Terminal Operations Department. Every AED cabinet is stocked with tourniquets, gloves, and mouth-to-mouth protectors. The defibrillators are strategically placed so they are within a two-to-three minute walk of each other, in public areas and in employee areas. The Department of Aviation’s safety team maintains the AEDs in Department of Aviation employee areas. Each stakeholder [our airline tenants] is responsible for having AEDs in their leased areas.”
What is an AED? An AED is a medical device that analyzes a person in cardiac arrest, then delivers an electrical shock of ventricular fibrillation to return the heart to its proper rate.
Currently, several hundred PHL employees are certified to perform CPR and operate AED machines. Airline gate agents and flight crews are trained by the airlines.
PHL Airport Operations Supervisor Jeremiah Hall says, “We use a Philadelphia-based company called MED-TEX to train our staff who are on the frontline to respond to medical emergencies as we await the arrival of Philadelphia Fire Department's Medic 78 and the police." After the completion of the class, participants receive a certificate which qualifies them two years - it indicates they are trained in CPR and on the proper use of the AEDs.
Hall adds, "CPR classes led by John Bonner from PHL's Safety Department are also offered by the airport in small groups of 15 employees. Although the classes aren’t mandatory, the seats in the classes are always full." CPR training classes are open to PHL employees and contracted staff through Training and Development in the HR Department.
PHL’s AED machines and emergency first aid kits are inspected bi-monthly to guarantee that they are operational all the time. The next time you visit the airport, pay attention to the locations of the AEDs. Who knows- you might be able to save a life.
Here are some other things passengers can do to help a person who is in medical distress until fire/rescue arrives:
- Call PHL Police at 215-937-6918 or dial 3111 from an airport wall mounted phone.
- Inform the nearest gate agent or PHL employee that there is a medical emergency.
- Look for the nearest AED machine to administer care until help arrives.