Every second counts when someone is unconscious and not breathing. You need to act quickly but you may be wondering “do I need to be trained to use an AED?” The acronym “AED” stands for Automated External Defibrillator, a medical device used to treat patients who suffer from cardiac arrest. AEDs are portable, battery-powered devices that deliver an electric shock that restores heart rhythm back to normal. They are designed to be used by nonmedical people in an emergency when a life is in danger.
The goal of AEDs and public access defibrillation programs ensure access to defibrillation when needed as quickly as possible. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), along with AEDs can dramatically increase survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest.
What Exactly Is An AED?
An AED is a device that helps to save lives in the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA can happen to anyone and occurs when the heart’s electrical activity becomes dangerously erratic or stops altogether. An AED gives an electrical pulse which treats the SCA quickly, but must be used within a few minutes to be effective.
Most often, AEDs are used to treat episodes of ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia, two life-threatening heart rhythms. Defibrillation is the process of delivering an electrical shock to a severely injured or dying heart in order to restore normal rhythm and allow blood to flow to the brain and other vital organs.
It is easy to learn and use an AED, even for people with no medical training or who are not certified in CPR. Depending on the model, the device provides real-time guidance through the administration of a shock or CPR procedures, as determined by the device based on your response to its questions and instructions. AEDs will only advise the user to defibrillate if it is necessary.
Where Can I Find An AED If I Need It?
If you’re not sure if there’s an AED nearby or need to find one quickly in an emergency situation, look around in public areas where there may be risks of heart attacks or other cardiovascular events. Some places that may have AEDs include:
Fitness Centres; and
When an AED is located, there will typically be a sign or a sticker that identifies it as such, and it may be kept inside of a labelled cabinet.
Do I Still Need To Use CPR If I Have An AED?
An AED delivers an electric shock to the chest wall to keep a heart rhythm normal. The heart needs oxygen and blood flow to survive. CPR can maintain both of these vital life functions until paramedics arrive.
At the end of the day, someone’s life might depend on how well you know how to use an automated external defibrillator. Whether you're trying to help someone in your community, or providing AEDs for your business, it is important to know the basics of using this device even though you don’t need to be trained to use an AED.
If you'd like to learn more, or have questions answered, be sure to visit aedadvantage.ca. Our team of experts is happy to help you find the right device for you, and we can help you navigate your way through any steps necessary to install it safely. Remember, people are an AEDs best chance of saving a life. So don't delay; contact us today!