AED 101: Learn the Defibrillator Basics!
Many people are unsure of what an AED is and how to use it, as AED’s are not required by law to be in a workplace. The fact is though, that an AED can increase the chance of survival when an emergency should occur. By having an AED in the workplace, you will be more prepared when an emergency arises. Here is all you need to know about AED 101!
What is an AED?
An AED is not a common thing, but most people who know what it is have seen it in action on television shows (most time they get it wrong!). The device that you hook up to an unconscious-unresponsive person, you stand back, and yell…”CLEAR!” The body jolts as an electric pulse is sent through the person to their heart to try and give it a push into ‘starting’ again (or de-febrillating). Besides the machines that are seen in doctor shows (where doctors hold large paddles), an AED can be found anywhere and can be used by anyone! It does not require a doctor to use it if an emergency occurs before the first responders can arrive.
So what is an AED? AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. It usually comes packed in a case a bit smaller than a briefcase. Inside the case contain a small, automated machine that will have simple buttons (such as on/off and a shock button). Many machines, once you turn them on, will actually have a recorded voice that will instruct you through the process of using one. Philips is known to have the most calming, helpful voice on the market – great for an emergency situation. The case will also contain pads with wires on them. These are the pads that you will stick onto a person’s exposed chest in an emergency (and are the alternative to the paddles the doctors hold). The case may sometimes also contain alternative pads or a key that can be used for a child, as well as a razor if you need to shave off body hair before applying the pads on the person.
How is an AED Used?
Now that you know what is in the case, how do you use it? Surprisingly, using an AED is probably one of the simplest life-saving techniques you can learn to do.
The AED is built with an automated voice that will lead you through the process. When you turn it on the machine will instruct you to place the pads onto the person’s bare chest. If you don’t know where they go, the pads have a diagram of exactly where it needs to be placed on the person’s body.
Once the pads are on, the machine will scan the pulse to see if a shock needs to be initiated. It will then tell you that a shock should be administered. In this case you will ensure that everyone is standing back and is not touching the person at all, to avoid anyone else getting shocked.
Then when you are sure everyone is clear you will press the shock button located on the machine and it will administer the shock. Don’t worry, all Philips Heartstart machines say “Please do not touch the patient” multiple times. Once that is done the machine will tell you what to do next. Some machines will tell you to begin compressions, where you can continue to perform CPR on the person. The machine will then tell you when it recommends another shock. You will continue this pattern until help can arrive and take over.
Having an AED around in a workplace, school, or even at home can increase a person’s chance of survival by more than 80%. It is one simple thing that you can do to try to get that person’s heart pumping once more. Talk with your employer or building director to find out where your nearest AED is, or look into getting one for your workplace.
Head to www.firsteditionfirstaid.ca to order one if you don’t have one on your office floor or in your office specifically! Once you have one and know where it is, you can be ready to respond when an emergency occurs. Be prepared for whatever emergency may come your way.
Now that you know the basics about what and how defibrillators are used, are you aware of the myths too? Do you know who is allowed to use an AED? Is an AED always required? Could an AED restart a stopped heart? Find out how many AED myths you thought were true and become an defibrillator expert so you can be more prepared for an emergency!