Many people aren’t familiar with an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED as they’re more commonly referred to. And those that do often think AEDs are only for professional medical personnel or first responders in an emergency.
The truth is, an AED can be put to life-saving use by anyone, and without training. An AED is used during cardiac arrest, delivering an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish itself at a normal, appropriate rhythm. (Often confused with a heart attack, but quite different, cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating altogether for no reason, whereas a heart attack is a result of blocked blood flow to the heart yet the heart is still beating.) With sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) being one of the leading causes of death each year, it’s no wonder why AEDs are becoming more and more common.
AEDs are lightweight and portable, and they’re designed so anyone can use them. And unlike CPR, using an AED doesn’t require training. In fact, AEDs come with their own “training manual.” In fact, once the AED is turned on, clear audible voice prompts and pictures on the pads help guide the rescuer through the process. CPR coaching on most AED’s help the rescuer perform quality CPR in between the shocks. This makes AEDs simple to operate by people young and old.
More and more AEDs are being located (if they’re not already mandated) at schools, doctor’s offices, airports, churches, businesses – just about everywhere people congregate. AEDs can save lives, and the fact that they’re so easy to use, with no required training, puts everyone in a position to help should they suddenly find themselves in an emergency involving SCA.
At First Responder, we offer discounts on CPR training with AED purchases. Because the two go hand-in-hand, and studies show early assistance is critical in improving a patient’s chances of survival. In fact, with every minute that passes after initial cardiac arrest, the chances of a successful defibrillation go down about 10%. Time is certainly of the essence, which is why having an AED handy, and in proper current condition, is so important.
AEDs can turn everyday people into heroes. So, who can use an AED? Anyone, including you!