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When to Use an AED in an Emergency

When to Use an AED in an Emergency

When to Use an AED in an Emergency

When to Use an AED in an Emergency

 

When an emergency occurs and a person requires CPR, using an AED can multiply the individual’s chance of survival exponentially. But when you come across an emergency, do you know when to use an AED? Is an AED always necessary? Imagine it is an average day, and as you go about your daily routine you come across an emergency situation. Being the certified first-aider that you are, you know the steps to respond to an emergency that may lead to beginning compressions for CPR. But when in that response time do you get the AED? Check out these scenarios to see when to use an AED in an emergency.

 

Situation #1 – Person Collapses

When to Use an AED - Person Collapses

Scenario

You are heading to work early to get some extra hours in when someone walking ahead falls to the ground. From afar you notice that the person is completely unconscious. Unfortunately, you are the only other individual on the street at this time in the morning and no one is nearby to assist you.

 

What to Do

  1. Assess the situation before approaching the person – there may have been a reason that the person collapsed. Is it safe for you to proceed?
  2. Call 911.
  3. Try waking them. Shout and shake them.
  4. Check the individual’s airways (see if there are any obstructions in the mouth that could stop them from getting air to their lungs).
  5. Check for breathing (lay your head over their mouth and listen for air while you watch their chest for movement).
  6. If the person is not breathing, check their circulation (do they have a pulse?).
  7. If they are not breathing and you cannot find a pulse, begin compressions and CPR right away.
  8. Continue until emergency responders arrive.

 

When Not to Use an AED

Because the person in this scenario is unconscious and is not breathing, it is important to get an AED as soon as possible. However, you are alone and therefore not able to go and get one. It is more important that the individual receives continuous compressions than it is for you to find an AED. In situations like this, it is best to call 911, begin compressions and wait for help. If someone does walk by, immediately ask for his or her assistance to go and get an AED and bring it back to you as soon as possible while you continue compressions.

 

 

Situation #2 – Car Accident

When to Use an AED - Car Accident

Scenario

As you are driving down the highway, a serious car accident occurs in front of you. You pull over to see if the drivers need help. From first glance, you can see that the driver of one vehicle is bleeding but conscious. Someone is already helping the other driver, so you divert your attention to the conscious individual in the other car.

 

What to Do

  1. When approaching the driver, carefully assess the situation (your safety should be a priority when offering help).
  2. If the person is able, lead them away from the crash site and to a safe place.
  3. Because the individual is conscious, you do not need to check their airways or circulation.
  4. Call 911, or have someone else call right away.
  5. Ask the individual basic questions and offer them a blanket or coat to prepare for the likelihood of shock.
  6. Use first aid skills to assess cuts and scrapes while monitoring the individual.
  7. Wait for emergency responders to arrive.

 

When Not to Use an AED

The individual is fully responsive and conscious; therefore an AED does not need to be used. Of course, in the case of an emergency where a car accident happens, it is still beneficial to call for an AED immediately in case someone does go into cardiac arrest. At any point of the assistance process, if someone is nearby, ask him or her to go and get an AED. Even if the AED is never used, having one nearby is advantageous should the person suddenly become unconscious.

 

Note: If you arrived and found the individual unconscious and unresponsive, it is still important to move them to a safer area and preform CPR. ‘Life over Limb’ refers to the need to save their life (get their heart started and them breathing) before worrying about broken bones. However, take extra care to find breathing and a pulse before making the choice. Be sure.

 

Scenario #3 – Person Found in Water

When to Use an AED - Person Found in Water

Scenario

You are on a boating excursion with your friends when you see an individual floating face-down in the water. The person has not moved since your boat approached them and they appear to be unconscious.

 

What to Do

  1. When approaching the individual call out to see if they will respond.
  2. Assess the area for any dangers that could harm you as well (always protecting yourself first).
  3. If the area is safe, pull the person on board your boat and out of the water.
  4. Call 911, or have a friend call for you.
  5. Check the individual’s airways to see if something is blocking airflow to the lungs.
  6. Check for breathing (lay your head over their mouth and listen for air while you watch their chest for movements).
  7. If the person is not breathing, check their pulse.
  8. Remove any restrictive clothing (like a life jacket) that may prevent you from providing compressions followed by breaths.
  9. If there is no pulse, begin CPR.
  10. Have a friend grab your Philips Onsite AED you have on board
  11. Reveal the patient’s bare chest, dry him off thoroughly, and attach the pads to the patient’s bare chest
  12. Follow AED instructions
  13. Wait for emergency responders to arrive, or for your boat to arrive close to emergency help.

 

When to Use an AED

If you and your friends packed your boat to be prepared for any emergency, you will have an AED on board. If this is the case, get someone to grab you the AED as soon as you have checked the person’s airway and checked for breathing. Before attaching the AED pads, it is important that you use a dry towel or shirt to wipe the individual’s chest dry. Ensure the person is not laying in a puddle of water or is in contact with any other water source (for example, their hand still in the water). Once the person is clear of water and is dry, attach the pads immediately to begin administering shocks. Follow the AED’s instructions until help arrives or you are able to get to a place with emergency responders.

Congratulations, you are a life saver!

 

Scenario #4 – Cardiac Arrest in a Public Place

When to Use an AED - Cardiac Arrest in a Public Place

Scenario

You are in a mall when someone standing in line in front of you begins to act strangely. They suddenly fall to the ground, breathing rapidly. Their movements look like spasms and their skin colour is turning blue before going unconscious.

 

What to Do

  1. Quickly assess the situation before approaching the person.
  2. Because you are in a mall and there are people nearby, instruct someone to call 911.
  3. Instruct another individual or employee nearby to go and get an AED.
  4. Check the individual’s airways (looking for obstructions or blockages).
  5. If there is an obstruction, reach in and fish it out with your finger (watch for if they bite down as this can hurt).
  6. Once clear, check for breathing (lay your head over their mouth and listen for air while you watch their chest for movement).
  7. If the person is not breathing, check their circulation (do they have a pulse?).
  8. If the person does not have a pulse, begin compressions and CPR right away. (Ideally you will have a barrier device keychain and will be able to do breaths between compressions since the collapse was from a lack of oxygen, however, compressions are still effective without breathing if necessary).
  9. Once the individual you instructed brings an AED back, turn on the AED immediately and prepare the unconscious person by applying pads.
  10. Listen to the instructions the AED provides (administering shocks and compressions)
  11. Wait for emergency responders to arrive.

 

When to Use an AED

In this scenario, because you are in close proximity to other individuals, you have the option to tell someone to go and get an AED right away. A public place like a mall should have an AED –check with security. Take immediate action and ensure that the AED is asked for as one of the first steps you take. The sooner an AED is brought, the more likely the person’s chance of survival.

 

 

In emergency situations, you want to prepare for anything. So, is an AED always necessary to be used? No, but you should always ask for an AED to be brought. Having an AED in close proximity can act as a precaution if the emergency took a turn for the worse.

 

Don’t have first aid training? First Edition First Aid Inc. offers courses and certifications so that you can prepare for any situation. Want to keep an AED nearby? First Edition First Aid Inc. supplies a wide variety of Philips AEDs that you can keep in your car, on your boat, in your home, or at your office (however rugged it may be). Be prepared and stay safe!

 

 

Sources:

https://images.philips.com/is/image/PhilipsConsumer/HCM5066A-IMS-en_CA?wid=435&hei=245&$pnglarge$

 

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