Automatic External Defibrillators (AED)
An automatic external defibrillator is a device that can safely deliver an electric shock to restart a person’s heart. An AED can be used with little or no prior training, and provide easy to follow voice prompts to help the rescuer. The 999 ambulance operator will also walk through the steps of using an AED, as well as performing chest compressions. First aid and CPR courses frequently include training in how to use an AED as well.
We know that more lives could be saved if AEDs were used more often in cardiac arrests occurring outside of hospital. The chances of survival fall by approximately 10% per minute delay in using a defibrillator. It is therefore vital that an AED is used as soon as possible in a cardiac arrest i.e. while the ambulance is on its way. In the UK, an AED is used in this situation in only 2% of cases, whereas in some parts of the world, they are used on over 50% of cases.
AEDs can be located almost anywhere. You may have noticed them in your GPs surgery, at your dentist, or in sports facilities, shopping centres, train stations and airports. Increasingly, you may notice AEDs within schools.
Some AEDs are located inside a building, and are therefore only available during opening hours. These are usually known as static AEDs. It may or may not be available for use outside the building if a cardiac arrest occurs nearby.
An AED can also be placed in an external cabinet, that is mounted on the exterior of a building so that any member of the public can access it during an emergency. This is known as a community public access defibrillator, or cPAD site. The cabinets may be locked, with access allowed on entering a keypad code which is available by dialling 999. Unlocked external cabinets are sometimes used.
It is very important to supply the ambulance service with full details (including the location and access details) of AEDs that are placed within the community.
Automatic External Defibrillators and AED cabinets are available from a number of manufacturers. Although they may differ in appearance, they are all simple to use.
Ambulance services are always keen to hear from institutions and individuals who are planning on installing (or have already installed) AEDs. Cardioproof would like to help maintain a current database of AEDs within the North East region, and we would be very happy to hear from you if you have installed an AED.
If you are considering installing an AED, contact us to discover how we may be able to help.