What Is An AED
What is an AED is a question many people ask who have never had training on this device. An AED simply put, is a machine that detects irregular electrical impulses which allows the heart to beat. During sudden cardiac arrest if the machine detects irregularity it will give an instruction to shock the casualty in the hope that the electrical impulses, which allow the heart to beat, return to normal. If the machine can correct the electrical impulses and return them to their normal rhythm, with continued C.P.R, the casualty has a much higher rate of successful resuscitation.
As from 31st December 2016, the Health and Safety Executive requires that all workplace first aiders who complete First Aid at Work, Emergency First Aid, and Annual Refresher training courses must receive Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Awareness training as a mandatory part of the course
It is not a legal obligation to have an Automated External Defibrillator onsite to date, but it is considered good practice and therefore many workplaces and public places now have defibrillators onsite.
Although training is now a mandatory requirement in a First Aid course, anyone can use a defibrillator. They are designed for public use and are easy to use as they give clear visual and audio instructions on what to do.
Did you know that:
- 270 children die in the UK every year after suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest at school.
- According to The British Heart Foundation, over 30,000 people resuscitated by the ambulance service, suffer from cardiac arrest in Britain every year.
- Unfortunately lack of quick first aid intervention and early defibrillation means that 1 in 10 people will survive.
- Approximately 80% of Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests occur at Home; 20% will occur in public places.
- The Resuscitation Council (UK) estimates that early defibrillation can increase survival rates by up to 70%.
- Only 22% of people in the UK would be confident in performing CPR on a stranger
Most Common Questions and Answers
What if I have never had training and need to use an AED?
The AED is designed for not just the workplace but for public use with people who have never had training. AED’s will provide visual and audio prompts to guide you through the entire resuscitation process.
Start CPR immediately. Shout for help and delicate someone to get an AED. Once the AED is present, apply the electrical pads to the victim’s bare chest (visually shown) and follow the AED’s voice instructions. It will tell you when a shock is required and which button to press and when to continue with CPR.
Can I accidentally shock myself?
No. AEDs are extremely safe when used properly. The electric shock is programmed to go from one electrical pad to another through the victim’s chest. It is important though when a shock is delivered that there is no contact with casualty receiving the shock so basic precautions, such as verbally warning others to stand clear and visually checking the area before and during the shock, can ensure the safety of rescuers.
What if I shock a casualty by accident?
When used on a casualty who is unresponsive and not breathing, the AED is extremely safe. The AED only makes a shock delivery when it detects irregularity of the electrical impulses which allow the heart to beat. Therefore, it will not shock by accident.
Can I use the AED if the casualty is pregnant?
Yes, this also includes a casualty that you know is fitted with a pacemaker.
Can I defibrillate on a wet surface?
Yes, as long the casualty’s chest is wiped dry. Keep the electrical pads away from a damp or conductive surface.
Can I use an AED on top of clothing?
No. The chest should be exposed bare to allow placement of the electrical pads. A woman’s bra should to be removed especially with metal under-wiring. Most AEDs have a pair of scissors inside to cut off clothing. Pads must not be placed on any metal ie; necklaces etc and if the casualty is wearing a nicotine patch in the area of where the pads need to be placed this must be removed also.
Can I place the electrical pads directly on a hairy chest?
No. The electrical pads must come in direct contact with bare skin. Most AEDs have a small disposable razor inside and therefore if the chest hair is excessive the hair must be removed quickly.
Can I use adult pads on a child?
You should use paediatric pads for all children under 8 years old which carry a lower charge to the child in sudden cardiac arrest. Most AEDs have adult and paediatric pads or some models of AEDs have one set of pads that you can adjust to adult or paediatric mode of which clear instruction will be given.
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*We ensure all our courses in First Aid at Work, Emergency First Aid at Work, Annual Refresher First Aid and our Paediatric First Course 6 and 12hrs have AED Training*