Saving Lives with AEDs

by | May 28, 2013 | Health Care

In the case of an emergency, we all want to be prepared. Did you know that as many as 400,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest in the United States every year? Imagine if you were in a meeting and someone suddenly collapsed – would you know what to do? If his heart had stopped, would CPR and calling 911 be the only courses of action? Luckily, in today’s world, we have an additional source of help in a frightening situation like this. AEDs, or Automatic External Defibrillators, can be found in many public and private buildings and could save up to 50,000 people’s lives every year. A great advantage of these devices is that they can be operated by everyone with the proper amount of training, usually combined with regular CPR instruction. So how would you use this important device?


When using an AED there are first some important considerations to take. Before you begin, make sure that someone has alerted the authorities. Then, decipher if the victim is breathing. If he is not, and his airway is clear, you would then begin CPR as you wait for an instructed individual to bring the AED device. AEDs should have a good power source, such as a Philips Heartstart Battery. Have someone continue CPR while you ready the machine, which walks you through the process easily. Apply the chest electrodes to the skin (not clothing or hair – particularly hairy chests can be shaved with a razor usually provided in the kit) as shown in the pictures on the pads, and follow the easy visual and voice prompts. The AED will analyze the victim’s heart rate and decide whether or not shock is warranted. If it is, ensure that everyone is clear before pressing the “shock” button. Immediately following the shock, continue with CPR until the device tells you to stop so that it can analyze the heart rate again. The AED will continue in this fashion until help arrives.

Although it can be scary to think about situations like this, it is imperative that everyone is prepared. Thanks to AEDs and the proper training, lives can be saved.

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