How to use an AED
Do you know how to use an AED? One of the easiest pieces of lifesaving equipment around, an automated external defibrillator takes very little knowledge to use in the event of a medical emergency. Look around your local mall, grocery store, restaurant or marina, and I’ll bet you’ll find one on a wall somewhere.
Sudden cardiac death is usually the result of the heart going into an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. The only treatment is to defibrillate the heart so it can reset itself into a normal blood-pumping rhythm. Hence, the use of an AED. With early use of an AED (within 3 to 5 minutes), the person has a 70 percent chance of survival.
Don’t be afraid to use an AED. The machine tells you exactly what to do.
What to do if someone collapses
If the person is non-responsive and doesn’t appear to be breathing:
- Move the person away from water, if necessary, before administering shocks.
- Grab the AED and turn it on. Have someone else call 911.
- Place the pads on the person’s dry, bare chest. The device includes a picture of where to put the pads. The cables are usually attached to the AED.
- The AED will say “analyzing.”
- If the AED says “shock advised,” make sure no one is touching the person, yell “clear,” and push the shock button. Then perform CPR until a second shock is advised. If the unit says “no shock advised,” simply perform CPR.
Repeat the steps above until the person is responsive or until help arrives. –Beth Schwab
This article was first published in Scuttlebutt, newsletter of North Strand Sail & Power Squadron/26.
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