Tips from UFA: Why Learn to Use an AED?

aed-photo-webWhy Learn to Use an AED?

Sudden cardiac arrest is among the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, more than 350,000 people will suffer a cardiac arrest this year. Currently, the only way to restore a regular heart rhythm during cardiac arrest is to use an AED. Automated external defibrillators can help save lives during sudden cardiac arrest.

Of course, you can – and should – request the assistance of trained medical professionals. However, because the average response time for first responders once 911 is called is 8-12 minutes, and for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the odds of survival are reduced by approximately 10%, having access to and AED and knowing how to use one, is critical.
Remembering the steps to use an AED the right way can be difficult. In order to help keep your skills sharp, we've created a quick step-by-step guide that you can print up and place on your refrigerator, in your car, in your bag or at your desk. This way, you can review the AED steps any time, at your convenience, and keep them fresh in your memory.

Before Using the AED

These AED steps should be used when caring for a non-breathing child age 8 or older who weighs more than 55 pounds, or for an adult.

After checking the scene and ensuring that the person needs help, you should ask a bystander to call 911 for help, then:

1) Turn on the AED and follow the visual and/or audio prompts.
2) Open the person's shirt and wipe his/her bare chest dry. If the person is wearing any medication patches, you should use a gloved (if possible) hand to remove the patches before wiping the person's chest.
3) Attach the AED pads, and plug in the connector (if necessary).
4) Make sure no one, including you, is touching the person. Tell everyone to "stand clear."
5) Push the "analyze" button (if necessary) and allow the AED to analyze the person's heart rhythm.
6) If the AED recommends that you deliver a shock to the person, make sure that no one, including you, is touching the person – and tell everyone to "stand clear." Once clear, press the "shock" button.
7) Begin CPR after delivering the shock. Or, if no shock is advised, begin CPR. Perform 2 minutes (about 5 cycles) of CPR and continue to follow the AED's prompts. If you notice obvious signs of life, discontinue CPR and monitor breathing for any changes in condition.

To see a video of the steps performed, follow this link: