AED/Defibrillator awareness

Good morning, our previous blog delved into the importance of CPR and how fantastic it is that it will be implemented into the UK national curriculum for secondary schools as of 2020. As promised in our previous blog, we wanted to also ensure budding first aiders are aware of the importance of an AED in a cardiac arrest situation

. Cardiac arrest is what the majority of people die from, whether it is caused by an prolonged condition, a sudden accident or a heart defect, usually they will result in a cardiac arrest. Therefore if we want the budding generation of first aiders to correctly administer first aid to ensure the survival rate of out of hospital cardiac arrests increase, then the correct use of an AED needs to be taught in schools.

Throughout this blog we intend to provide as much information surrounding AED or defibrillator use and hopefully you will learn something or it will refresh current first aiders memories.

What is an AED ?

An Automated External Defibrillator is a portable, simple to use yet sophisticated device used for casualties in cardiac arrest and to monitor the heart.

If advised to shock the AED sends an electrical current through the casualties heart in an attempt to regain a normal rhythm.

The only way to regain a normal rhythm of a heart in cardiac arrest is by using a defibrillator, this is the reason it is so important to be trained in the use of an AED with the increase in public AED’s now being made available.

Early defibrillation saves lives.

Where will you find an AED?
You may find an AED in your place of work or in a public area. Public AED’s in village centres, outside supermarkets, libraries or doctors and even pubs are now more and more available. They are contained in a large very bright box and are very hard to miss.

How do you access the AED?
An AED is easily accessible, the instructions will be displayed on the front of the cabinet. You should dial 999, and the operators will ask for a locator code that is displayed on the box, they will then provide you with a code to open the box, an ambulance will simultaneously be dispatched if it hasn’t already done so. The AED is then portable and can be taken to your casualty.

What is inside the box?
The AED itself, usually there will be a set of adult pads and child pads, sometimes scissors and very often a razor and a resusci-aid mask.

How do I use the AED?
The correct pads must be connected to the device. The casualty must also be prepared. Any metal around the torso region must be removed e.g. underwired bra cut off, medi-necklaces removed. The casualty should be wiped and dried if sweating to maximise stick of the pads, chests should be shaved in the area where the pads will be connected. The pads will show an image of where to correctly place them. If you get each pad the wrong way
round do not try to correct it, the charge will still travel through the heart and you may reduce the stick on the pads. Once the pads are connected the AED will begin to monitor the casualty. The AED will then give you step by step instructions of what to do from here.

All of our first aid courses give you hands on and detailed training on how to use a defibrillator, you will practise with a training unit which is modelled the same as a real unit to ensure you feel confident if you were faced with a cardiac arrest.

During my time in aviation the use of the on-board AED became a regular occurrence (I seemed to attract heart attacks during my time in the air). Very often I used the AED to monitor a casualties heart rhythm during a suspected heart attack, very often attack can lead to a cardiac arrest therefore connecting the defibrillator saved me time if I needed to use it, applying one of the key points in the chain of survival ‘early defibrillation’ this is something you can think about if you come across someone having a heart attack and you are near a defibrillator, it will not shock unless it is needed

Once again we hope this Blog has been useful, and anyone that reads this in education, I hope it has really highlighted the importance of defibrillator training within schools.


Managing Director RH Training Services Limited

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