AED’s are increasingly becoming available in workplaces and the community (public access defibrillation). Common placements are in public venues such as swimming pools, train stations, tube stations, air ports, and shopping centres. In rural communities, they are often available in places such as ex-telephone boxes. They may be protected by an access code, which is usually given by ambulance control.

AED’s deliver a shock to the heart of a casualty in cardiac arrest and are successful in about one-third of cases (to hospital release) this is about 5 times more successful than without an AED.
Although there are different brands of AED’s available on the market, they all work in a similar way. Semi automatic AED’s require the shock button to be pressed when indicated, whereas fully automated will shock the casualty without the need for a button being pressed.

Using the AED
  • If the first aider is in a place that has an AED, they should send for one at the time of calling an ambulance. If they are alone they should collect it at the same time as calling an ambulance.
  • The first aider should instruct the person fetching the AED to power it on, and ideally place the pads whilst they continue with Basic Life Support.
  • Once powered on, the first aider should follow the prompts as given by the AED.
    Pad Placement
  • Once powered on, the first aider should follow the prompts as given by the AED.
    Pad Placement
  • The chest of the casualty will need to be dry, for both pad placement and good shock conduction. A likely cause for the chest to be wet if the profuse sweating that a heart attack casualty may have been experiencing.
  • Excessive chest hair chair will need to be removed for good pad adhesion.


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