AED Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is an AED?
Now, you don't have to be a doctor to save a life! New Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) make it possible for even non-medical personnel to restore heart rhythm and life. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a machine that can monitor heart rhythms. It can tell if the heart has stopped beating effectively. If required, the machine can then deliver an electric shock to the heart. Most of the time, this shock will restart the heart if done quick enough.
Are AEDs effective in saving lives?
Approximately 40,000 cardiac arrests occur in Canada every year - 80% outside of a hospital setting. With each passing minute, the probability of survival declines by 7% to 10%. Defibrillation improves survival rates by up to 30% if delivered in the first few minutes. AEDs combined with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) increases survival rates to 50% or more. Making defibrillators easily accessible in public buildings such as hockey arenas and airports has the potential to save thousands of lives.
AEDs are small electronic devices that were initially designed to allow minimally trained people to provide lifesaving defibrillation (electric shock to the heart) to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Unlike the defibrillators seen on medical TV shows, AEDs are small, lightweight and very easy to operate. They are about the size of a lunch box and have adhesive electrode pads that rescuers attach to the person's chest. An AED is very simple to use yet houses the same sophisticated defibrillation technology relied on by emergency medical services personnel and physicians.
How Does An AED Work?
An AED is programmed to tell rescuers exactly what to do using voice and visual prompts. Rescuers attach adhesive electrode pads to the person's chest. Through these electrodes, the AED is designed to automatically analyze the electrical activity of the heart to determine if a "shockable" rhythm is present. An AED is so easy to use even untrained school children can operate one quickly and correctly such as the AED's purchased by the Calgary School Board (220) for their schools. They're even training their students!
With voice prompts and pictures the AED guides rescuers through the resuscitation process, advising when to give CPR. If the AED determines the person's heart needs a shock, it tells rescuers to stand back and stay clear so a shock can be safely given through the adhesive electrode pads affixed to the person's chest. (Note: Some AED models will tell the user to push a button to shock, and others will provide it automatically after giving rescuers an "all clear" warning.)
The delivery of an electrical shock to a heart experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) briefly stops all electrical activity in the heart. This brief break from the previous electrical chaos can be enough for the heart to restart & resynchronize with a normal rhythm.
Not everyone can be saved from SCA, even with defibrillation. But early defibrillation, especially when delivered within three to five minutes of a person's collapse from SCA, does provide the best chance for survival. It's really is that simple!
Who Can Use An AED?
Anyone who has minimal CPR and AED training (usually a four to five hour class) can use an AED to help save a life. Many people around the world are trained, including police and security officers, firefighters, athletic trainers, flight attendants and lifeguards. Newly-developed AEDs such as the Philips HeartStart line of AED's offer greater ease of use and can be found in schools, health clubs, community centers, religious communities, homes and many other locations.
AEDs are designed to help people with minimal training use them safely in tense, emergency situations. They have numerous built-in safeguards and are designed to deliver a shock only if the AED detects one or more shocks are necessary. Their ease of use and built-in safety mechanisms make AEDs suitable for use in community or company-wide programs.
Why Purchase An AED?
An AED costs about as much as a personal computer and software, and is easy to use and maintain. Having AEDs readily available in schools, airports, stadiums and other public places makes sense. The goal is to improve SCA survival rates. Philips HeartStart AEDs can help you make the difference.
Why is it important to take AED Training?
Strengthening the chain of survival means more than teaching people to use an AED. People also need to know how to quickly recognize signs of SCA, start CPR right away, locate and use the AED, and care for the victim until the EMS team arrives. Everyone who uses an AED should have CPR and AED training which typically lasts between four and eight hours.
At CANADIAN FIRST-AID TRAINING Ltd. we can look at providing several different levels of training which may include an introduction to AEDs all the way to the purchase of Adult, Child and Infant (Paediatric) capable AED's. Many organizations offer this training, but rest assured that we can provide, you the customer, with all the information required to make the best decision possible.
*Some information and statistics taken from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.