How to use an Automated External Defibrillator
Each year, more than 300,000 people will suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Every minute that passes before life-saving measures can begin results in a 10 percent decrease in the likelihood of survival. That is why CPR and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) have become the ideal way for non-medical professional bystanders to help a person in distress. In the event a person collapses, it is important to follow these steps.
1. Make Sure The Surrounding Area is SafeOne of the first things you should do to help a person suffering from SCA is to take stock of their surroundings. Your efforts will be fruitless if you place yourself in danger to help them. If they are in an unsafe location take a few seconds to get them (and you!) to safety. Be sure to make special note of any metal surfaces they may be laying on. Remember, AED's use electricity and electricity is trying to find a ground. Placing them on a metal surface can endanger those who are attempting to help them.
2. Begin CPRUsing an AED is not a substitute for good old-fashioned CPR, but it can augment essential lifesaving efforts. Be sure to perform chest compressions on a hard, flat surface at 100 compressions per minute. CPR should continue unless the person is actively shocked or until emergency medical personnel relieve the person performing compressions.
3. Prepare the chest for defibrillator padsDefibrillator pads will need to be placed on the skin of the chest. To do this, clothing may need to be removed. In the event the victim has an excessive amount of body hair, the areas where the defibrillator pads will be placed will need to be quickly shaved. Most AED defibrillator kits include a razor and gloves for this process to happen quickly and safely.
4. Place the defibrillator pads on the chestThe "heart" or "plus" pad will be placed lateral to the left nipple. The other pad will be placed just above the right nipple near the clavicle. This pad placement will create an arc of electricity that will travel from pad to pad, passing through the heart. All AEDs will have instructions on pad placement. They are also fitted with safety features that will not allow the AED to work until the pads are correctly placed on the victim's chest.
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