When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival decrease by 10% with every minute that passes. That’s why it’s so important for first responders to know how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as quickly as possible. In this blog post, we will discuss the safe usage of AEDs and provide tips for first responders. Stay safe and be prepared!
What Are AEDs?
An AED, more commonly known as a defibrillator, is a lightweight portable electronic device. It can defibrillate or shock a heart having a cardiac arrest to restore a normal heart rhythm. It is designed to be user-friendly and commonly taught in first aid and basic life support CPR classes in Liverpool.
The portable device has a built-in computer and sensor that will check for the heart rhythm once placed on the patient’s chest and determine if defibrillation is required. Voice prompts are given to the user to follow and to streamline the defibrillation process.
Quick Facts of AED
- Every minute that early defibrillation is delayed reduces the person’s chances of survival by 10%. This is why it is so important to call 000 if a cardiac arrest is suspected. A defibrillator is necessary to reverse this process and ‘reboot’ the heart back into its normal cycle.
- An AED can be used effectively with minimal training, as all the current models are designed not to function unless an abnormal “shockable” heart rhythm is detected by the unit.
- AED use is not restricted to trained personnel – any first aider can use an AED.
- AED units can accurately identify the casualty’s cardiac rhythm whether it is ‘shockable’ or ‘non-shockable’.
- An AED is only to be applied to a non-breathing casualty.
An AED, just like any electrical appliance, has safety precautions to prevent injury. The AED operator is responsible for keeping all persons from touching the casualty when a shock is delivered. State a ‘clear’ message. For example, say loudly “don’t touch the casualty” or “stand clear”. Look to ensure that no one touches the casualty before pressing the shock button.
The AED should never be connected to anyone other than a casualty in cardiac arrest, nor should an AED be attached to a person for training or demonstration purposes.
Beware of Water
Ensure the casualty’s chest area is dry. Do not use an AED if the casualty is in water. Water is an effective transmitter of electricity and the shock may be transmitted to the AED operator.
The AED should be easily accessible, visible and located where it will most likely be needed. It should not be locked away and inaccessible. It is best stored in a dry and dust-free environment.
In a facility, ensure that all staff & visiting workers are aware of the AED location/s. A sign should be used to indicate the location of the AED.
AEDs require little maintenance. If the AED pads have been used, they require immediate replacement. Expired batteries and AED pads and other consumable items (e.g., shears, towels and plastic gloves) should be replaced in line with their expiration dates (usually 3-5 years). In all cases, the manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed.
All currently available AEDs perform regular self-checks and if a problem is detected it will be indicated. In most cases, they show this by a warning sign or light visible on the front of the machine, or by an audible alert much the same as a failing smoke detector battery. Those owning or maintaining an AED should have a process in place for it to be checked regularly and frequently (ideally daily) and for appropriate action to be taken when necessary.
Considerations in Using AED
There are important considerations when using AEDs. If you are planning to buy one or you are already an owner of AED, you need to take note of these considerations:
- Do not use an AED near flammable or combustible materials.
- It is safe to use an AED when the person is lying on a metal surface, but don’t allow the AED pads to contact the metal surface.
- Do not use an AED if the person is in or near water. Avoid getting the AED wet.
- It is safe to use AEDs in all weather conditions. If possible, provide a dry environment before using AED. Remove the person’s wet clothing and wipe the chest dry before placing the AED pads.
- It is safe to use an AED on a pregnant woman.
- If the person has a pacemaker or ICD, adjust pad placement as necessary to avoid placing the AED pads directly over the device. Healthcare professionals should learn from their healthcare education how to determine if a person uses a pacemaker or ICD.
- Remove any transdermal medication patches (e.g. nitroglycerin) that you see before using an AED. Wear gloves when removing these patches.
- If the person has thick chest hair that interferes with pad-to-skin contact, quickly shave the areas where the pads will be placed.
Can I Enroll in a CPR Course in Liverpool?
CPR First Aid is glad to offer HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation in Liverpool, Australia. This is offered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) – regulated first aid course providers in Liverpool.
What is the HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation First Aid Course?
This course provides the skills and knowledge required to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in line with the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) Guidelines. This CPR update course is the most recent version of what is often referred to as the CPR Update or CPR Refresher.
AEDs are designed to warn users to stay clear of the victim while the shock is delivered, making it safe to use. Just make sure that you maintain and store the AED properly in order to achieve its optimum performance. Know how to be a first responder and how to perform safely in case of emergency with us. You may check our website to enrol now in Liverpool.