Automated External Defibrillator

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Jun 12, 2019

Keeping an automated external defibrillator (AED) at your facility and training employees how to operate the machine could be a matter of life or death in the event of an emergency.

An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock could stop an irregular heartbeat and restore a normal rhythm following sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is among the leading causes of death in the United States and more than 350,000 people will suffer a cardiac arrest this year. The only way to restore a regular heart rhythm during cardiac arrest is to use an AED.

The average response time for first responders to arrive after calling 911 is 8-12 minutes. Having an AED nearby and acting quickly is key. The odds of survival are reduced by 7-10% for each minute defibrillation is delayed.

Who Can Use An AED?

Non-medical personnel including police, fire service, flight attendants, security guards, and those trained in CPR can all use an AED.

No formal training is required, but training is recommended to familiarize yourself with the AED before an emergency occurs.

AEDs should be placed in first-response vehicles including ambulances, law enforcement vehicles, and fire engines and should be placed in public areas including sports venues, shopping centers, airports & airplanes, hotels, schools, doctors’ offices, and businesses. If AEDs are located inside a building they should be placed near the elevator, reception area, cafeteria, and on the wall in the main corridor.

The AED will give you step-by-step voice instructions and will explain how to check for breathing and a pulse, as well as how to position the electrode pads on the person’s chest.

How to Use An AED

  1. Call 911, start performing CPR, and turn on the AED
  2. Open the person’s shirt and wipe their bare chest dry
  3. Attach the AED Pads and plug in the connector
  4. Make sure no one is touching the person and tell everyone to “stand clear”
  5. Push the “analyze” button and wait for the AED to analyze the person’s heart rhythm
  6. The AED will determine if a shock is needed. Again, make sure no one is touching the person and tell everyone to “stand clear” - Once clear, push the “shock” button
  7. Begin CPR after delivering the shock - Perform two minutes of CPR and continue to follow the prompts from the AED
  8. If you notice signs of life, discontinue CPR and monitor breathing until emergency personnel arrive

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke found that your chance of surviving cardiac arrest is 67% when an AED is used by a bystander compared to 43% when you wait for emergency medical services to arrive to shock the heart.

Providing training and keeping an AED on hand at your facility truly could save a life.

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