AED Usage

Who Can Use an AED?

Learning how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and taking a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course are helpful. However, if trained personnel aren’t available, untrained people also can use an AED to help save someone’s life.  An electric shock from an AED can restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Doing CPR on someone having SCA also can improve his or her chance of survival. There are many people around the world who are trained to use an AED, athletic trainers, firefighters, police and flight attendants. In emergency situations, AEDs are designed to help people with minimal training to use them safely. Because its sequence is so logical, well defined, and well illustrated it has a calming effect on rescuers who are inexperienced in responding to cardiac emergencies.

Why Purchase an AED?

(1)The American Heart Association has stated that sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States accounting for an estimated 295,000 occurrences of out-of hospital SCA per year, with only an 8 percent survival rate. Having an automatic external defibrillator (AED) close by can mean the difference between life and death for a victim of SCA. With every minute that goes by, survival rates drop up to 10 percent. (1) That leaves a window of 10 minutes in which to potentially save a life, after which few rescue attempts succeed. Defibrillation is the single most effective treatment for SCA even though CPR is essential to maintaining blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. This is another reason why survival rates improve with active AED programs.

Chain of Survival

Following the Cardiac Chain of Survival will lead to dramatic increases in the survival rates of cardiac arrest victims. The first step is to summon skilled help by calling 911 as soon as a cardiac arrest is suspected. The second step is to begin CPR to get oxygen-rich blood circulating through the victim’s body. Early defibrillation is the third step. An electronic device known as a defibrillator is used to deliver a shock. Electricity flows from paddles or adhesive electrodes through the chest. Activate the defibrillator as soon as it is available. Lastly, relinquish care of the victim to EMTs and paramedics once they arrive.

(1) The American Heart Association Website, May 2007)