Welcome to our FAQ section, where we’ve compiled answers to the most commonly asked questions about our products, services, and policies.
What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest wall to potentially restore a normal heart rhythm during cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart unexpectedly malfunctions and stops beating, leading to rapid death if not treated promptly.
Once the AED electrodes are attached to the victim’s chest, the device automatically checks and analyzes the heart rhythm. It calculates whether defibrillation is necessary, and if so, a recorded voice prompts the rescuer to press the shock button or automatically delivers the shock, depending on the model.
The shock from the AED effectively stuns the heart, halting all activity and providing an opportunity for the heart to resume a normal rhythm. Audio and text prompts, specific to the AED model, guide the user in administering the shock or performing CPR. It’s important to note that AEDs advise a shock only when absolutely necessary.
In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, immediate CPR or defibrillation is crucial, as survival chances decrease by 7-10% per minute without intervention. Resuscitation becomes increasingly unlikely after 10 minutes without medical attention.
How does an AED work?
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) system consists of the AED itself along with essential accessories such as a battery, pad electrodes, and, if necessary, an adapter. The AED provides spoken instructions to users.
Here’s how they operate:
1. The user activates the AED and follows the voice prompts. In certain AEDs, the device powers on automatically when the user opens the lid.
2. The user applies two adhesive pads with sensors, known as electrodes, onto the chest of the individual experiencing cardiac arrest.
3. The electrodes transmit information about the person’s heart rhythm to a processor within the AED. The AED then analyzes the rhythm to determine whether an electrical shock is required.
4. If a defibrillation shock is necessary, the AED utilizes voice prompts to indicate when to press a button to administer the shock. In some AEDs, the voice prompts announce the impending shock, and the AED administers it without any action required by the user.
How effective are AEDs in saving lives during cardiac emergencies?
Research involving prompt defibrillation has demonstrated a survival rate of up to 60% one year after an instance of sudden cardiac arrest.
The survival rate from cardiac arrest doubled when bystanders took action by using a publicly-available automated external defibrillator (AED) instead of waiting for emergency responders to arrive. The longer the delay in emergency personnel arriving, the more significant the benefit of a bystander using an AED to deliver a shock to the victim.
Those who received a defibrillator shock from a bystander had substantially higher chances of survival and being discharged from the hospital compared to those who did not receive such intervention.
According to Dr. Myron Weisfeldt from Johns Hopkins University, approximately 1,700 lives are preserved annually in the United States through the use of AEDs by bystanders. However, he points out that a significant number of Americans are unaware of the presence of AEDs in public places and lack proper training on how to utilize them.
Why should I invest in an AED? What are the leading statistics surrounding heart disease and cardiac arrest?
1. Heart disease stands as the primary cause of death in the United States.
2. Sudden cardiac arrest (referred to as “SCA” in this section) is an emergent, life-threatening situation resulting from a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system or structure. This malfunction can be attributed to a congenital abnormality or one that develops over time.
3. Research indicates that approximately 1 in 300 young individuals possesses an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk.
4. SCA ranks as the leading cause of death among student athletes.
5. Sports-related SCA constitutes 39 percent of all SCA cases affecting children aged 18 and under.
6. In 2020, the United States witnessed nearly 436,852 sudden cardiac arrests, out of which 9 out of 10 resulted in fatality. Only 1 in 10 individuals survive a sudden cardiac arrest.
7. It is estimated that between 7,000 to 23,000 young people experience SCA on an annual basis.
8. According to the American Heart Association, if bystanders perform CPR and utilize an AED promptly, 5 out of 10 SCA victims could potentially survive.
9. The chain of survival encompasses swift notification of emergency services, early CPR, defibrillation, and advanced cardiac life support.
10. Comprehensive health education should incorporate fundamental emergency lifesaving skills. By integrating these training programs into the health curriculum of public elementary and secondary schools, children and youth can acquire these vital skills.
Am I required to have an AED?
Although individuals are not obligated to possess AEDs, recent state legislation mandates that several buildings and businesses must make these devices accessible to the public.
Although there is no mandatory nationwide obligation for employers or businesses to acquire and supply AEDs in the workplace, it is extensively documented that Sudden Cardiac Arrest incidents occur in work settings and that Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are instrumental in saving lives.
The advantages of AEDs, specifically their life-saving potential, far exceed the costs associated with their procurement. Consequently, all 50 states have implemented robust Good Samaritan Laws aimed at promoting wider deployment of AEDs.
Can I get sued using an AED? Could someone be liable for using an AED? Can my company be sued? Protection in attaching an AED
Generally, under the Good Samaritan law, individuals who render assistance in good faith during emergencies or accidents are protected from liability, unless they act in bad faith or display gross negligence. This legal principle aims to encourage people to help others in times of need without fear of facing legal repercussions for their actions.
The Good Samaritan law is rooted in the belief that society benefits when individuals are willing to lend aid and support to those in distress. It provides a level of legal protection to those who, in good faith, attempt to provide help, medical assistance, or care to others during critical situations. This protection is particularly relevant in situations where immediate medical attention can make a crucial difference, such as during car accidents, medical emergencies, or other life-threatening incidents.
The key elements of the Good Samaritan law include:
1. Good Faith: To qualify for protection under the law, the person offering assistance must genuinely intend to help and not harbor any malicious or harmful intent towards the individual they are aiding. They must act with honest intentions to provide aid without expecting any compensation or benefit in return.
2. Emergency Situations: The law usually applies to situations where there is an unexpected emergency or accident. It doesn’t cover instances where assistance is provided in non-emergency settings, such as regular medical treatment in a hospital or clinic.
3. Reasonable Care: While the law offers protection, it does not grant immunity for reckless or negligent behavior. The person rendering aid must act prudently and within the bounds of their abilities and training. If they display gross negligence, meaning a severe departure from the standard of care expected of a reasonably prudent person in a similar situation, they may still be held liable.
4. Professional Obligations: In some jurisdictions, the Good Samaritan law may not apply to licensed medical professionals acting within the scope of their profession. These professionals are typically held to a higher standard of care due to their training and expertise.
It’s important to note that the specifics of Good Samaritan laws can vary from one jurisdiction to another, as they are enacted and interpreted at the state or national level. While these laws provide crucial protection for those offering help in emergencies, they are not a blanket shield against all liability. Any allegations of bad faith or gross negligence could lead to legal consequences.
In conclusion, the Good Samaritan law is a valuable legal protection designed to encourage individuals to assist others in times of need. As long as people act in good faith and with reasonable care, they are shielded from liability, fostering a sense of community responsibility and compassion in society.
Who can use an AED?
AEDs are designed for use by the general public.This means that anyone can use an AED in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. The aim of AEDs and public access defibrillation programs is to ensure that defibrillation is readily available when needed, as response time is crucial in these situations. The combination of CPR and AED usage significantly improves survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest.
Do AEDs require training?
Although not mandatory, obtaining AED and CPR certifications is recommended to enhance your comfort and confidence in using AEDs. Along with reputable health organizations, FC Safety offers training programs that cover AED usage in conjunction with CPR techniques. Online training options are also available.
These classes provide comprehensive instruction on recognizing the signs of sudden cardiac arrest, knowing when to contact emergency medical services, performing CPR, and effectively operating an AED.
However, in any emergency situation, it is essential to immediately call 911. If you are in a location equipped with an emergency response system featuring a prominently displayed contact number, use that number to seek assistance. In either case, an operator will guide you on how to assist someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
What are the differences between fully automated and semi-automated defibrillators?
AEDs can be categorized as either semi-automated or fully automated.
Semi-automated defibrillators examine the rhythm of the heart, and if an abnormal rhythm that necessitates a shock is identified, the device instructs the user to press a button in order to administer the defibrillation shock.
Fully automated defibrillators, on the other hand, assess the heart’s rhythm and administer a defibrillation shock without requiring any action from the user if directed to do so by the device’s software.
What are the best locations to store AEDs?
As of June 30, 2017, 38 states had enacted legislation in support of targeted AED placement. Out of these states, 37 had provisions mandating or authorizing the presence of AEDs in specific locations, including:
1. Schools (25)
2. Health, fitness, and/or athletic facilities (15)
3. State-owned or occupied facilities (10)
4. Gambling venues (2)
5. Public golf courses (1)
Furthermore, nineteen states either required or encouraged the placement of AEDs in clearly marked and easily accessible locations, particularly in the event of a cardiac arrest. For instance, Louisiana stipulates that higher education athletic departments engaged in intercollegiate sports must have an AED positioned within the athletic department premises. The AED should be located in an open-view area, easily accessible, and situated within two feet of a telephone for emergency 9-1-1 calls.
What is the Access to AEDs Act?
Grants will be provided to eligible entities for the purpose of establishing and implementing a comprehensive program to enhance student access to defibrillation in public elementary and secondary schools.
The funds received through the grant can be utilized for various activities, including:
1. Developing and providing comprehensive materials to establish AED and CPR programs in schools.
2. Supporting CPR and AED training programs for students, staff, and related sports volunteers.
3. Assisting in the development of cardiac emergency response plans within schools.
4. Procuring approved AEDs, in accordance with specific sections of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
5. Acquiring necessary AED batteries and performing maintenance, such as replacing AED pads, following the AED’s instructions.
6. Replacing outdated AED and CPR equipment, machinery, and educational materials.
7. Establishing community partnerships with local educational agencies, nonprofit organizations, public health organizations, emergency medical service providers, fire and police departments, and parent-teacher associations to promote the significance of defibrillation in schools.
8. Assisting school athletic departments in screening student athletes for the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, adhering to guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
9. Developing strategies to further improve access to AEDs in schools.
To be eligible for a grant, an entity must be a local educational agency, including public charter schools operating as local educational agencies under state law, in consultation with a qualified healthcare entity. They must also submit an application to the Secretary in the specified manner, timeframe, and containing the necessary information as reasonably required by the Secretary.
How does an AED work?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized device designed to assess the heart rhythm of individuals facing cardiac arrest. When necessary, it administers an electrical shock to the heart with the aim of restoring its regular rhythm. This process of restoring a ventricular arrhythmia to its normal rhythm using an electrical shock is referred to as defibrillation.
An AED system consists of the AED itself and essential accessories, including a battery, pad electrodes, and an adapter if required. The AED operates by providing verbal instructions to users, and here’s how it functions:
1. The user activates the AED, following the voice prompts. Some AEDs automatically turn on when the lid is opened.
2. Two sticky pads with sensors (called electrodes) are attached to the chest of the person experiencing cardiac arrest.
3. The electrodes transmit information about the person’s heart rhythm to a processor within the AED, which then analyzes the rhythm to determine whether an electric shock is necessary.
4. If a defibrillation shock is required, the AED uses voice prompts to guide the user on when to press a button to administer the shock. In certain AEDs, the voice prompts announce that a shock will be delivered, and the AED delivers the shock without any intervention from the user.
How to Use an AED
These steps should be followed when using an AED to assist a non-breathing child aged 8 or older weighing over 55 pounds, or an adult.
1. After assessing the situation and confirming the need for assistance, instruct a bystander to call 911 for help. Then, proceed with the following steps:
2. Complete the CHECK and CALL steps as necessary.
3. Once an AED is available, activate it and adhere to the voice prompts provided.
4. Remove any clothing covering the chest and ensure the pads are attached correctly. If needed, dry the chest surface before applying the pads. Position one pad on the upper right side of the chest and the other pad on the lower left side, a few inches below the left armpit. Note: If the pads may touch, place one pad in the middle of the chest and the other on the back, between the shoulder blades.
5. Connect the pad connector cable to the AED if required.
6. Prepare for the AED to analyze the heart’s rhythm. Ensure that nobody is touching the person and loudly announce, “CLEAR!”
7. If the AED determines that a shock is necessary, ensure that nobody is touching the person and again declare, “CLEAR!” Then, press the “shock” button to administer the shock.
8. After the AED delivers the shock or if no shock is advised, immediately initiate CPR, starting with chest compressions.
Is it possible to use an AED on a pregnant woman?
Yes, it is possible to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) on a pregnant woman if she is in cardiac arrest. The safety and well-being of both the mother and the unborn child are critical in such situations. The following guidelines should be considered when using an AED on a pregnant woman:
- Pad Placement: Place the AED pads on the woman’s chest as you would for any adult victim. The placement may need to be adjusted slightly due to the changing body shape during pregnancy.
- Shock Delivery: If the AED determines that a shock is needed, delivering the shock to the mother’s chest is safe and the priority, as restoring her heart rhythm is crucial.
- Minimize Delay: Minimize any delay in providing CPR and using the AED. Immediate intervention is vital in cardiac arrest situations.
- CPR: If the woman is in cardiac arrest, begin CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths. The compressions might need to be adjusted to account for the pregnancy, but the main goal is to maintain circulation and oxygenation.
- Call for Help: Call emergency services (911 or your local emergency number) as soon as possible.
- Communication: If possible, inform medical professionals about the woman’s pregnancy and the use of the AED so they can take appropriate measures upon arrival.
It’s important to note that the safety of the mother and the baby is a priority, and using an AED is considered safe and appropriate in this life-threatening situation. Always follow the instructions of the AED and seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Can an AED be used on children?
Children who are 8 years old and above can receive treatment using a standard AED. However, for children aged 1 to 8, the American Heart Association (AHA) advises using pediatric attenuated pads, which need to be obtained separately. For infants younger than 1 year, it is preferable to use a manual defibrillator. In cases where a manual defibrillator is not accessible, an AED equipped with a dose attenuator can be used as an alternative.
What should I do if an AED advises "No Shock Advised"?
Reasons for ‘No Shock Advised’:
– AED indicates no shock needed when heart rhythm restoration doesn’t require an electric shock due to:
– Non-shockable rhythm: e.g., asystole or pulseless electrical activity (PEA).
– Effective CPR: Quality CPR might suffice for rhythm restoration.
– Misplaced AED Pads: Incorrect pad placement leads to inaccurate readings.
Steps When AED Says No Shock Advised:
- Continue CPR: Maintain high-quality CPR for blood flow and oxygenation.
- Check Signs of Life: Look for movement, breathing, or responsiveness after CPR.
- Call EMS: Regardless of AED’s advice, call emergency services immediately.
- Follow AED Prompts: Obey any provided instructions during resuscitation.
Knowing how to react when AED advises no shock is vital. Understand reasons and follow steps for better outcomes. Keep CPR ongoing, call EMS, and heed AED prompts. Enroll in CPR/AED training for readiness. Quick action saves lives.
How long does it take for an AED to analyze a person's heart rhythm?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) typically takes only a few seconds, usually around 10 to 20 seconds, to analyze a person’s heart rhythm. During this time, the AED assesses the electrical activity of the heart to determine whether a shock is needed to restore a normal rhythm. If the AED detects a shockable rhythm, it will prompt the operator to deliver a shock. If a shock is not advised, the AED will provide instructions to continue performing CPR or take other appropriate actions. The speed of analysis is crucial in time-sensitive situations like cardiac arrest to ensure timely intervention.
How to properly place AED pads on a person’s chest?
Prepare for pad placement by removing clothing from the chest area and ensuring the chest is dry. Begin by positioning one pad on the upper right side of the chest. Place the second pad on the lower left side of the chest, a few inches below the left armpit. Remember, if there’s a risk of the pads touching due to body size or other factors, consider situating one pad in the center of the chest and the other on the back, between the shoulder blades.
Do I need to perform CPR before using an AED?
Yes, if someone is in cardiac arrest, it’s recommended to begin performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) immediately before using an AED (automated external defibrillator). CPR helps maintain blood circulation and oxygenation of vital organs, buying crucial time until the AED is ready for use. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is pivotal. Initiating CPR promptly, especially with focused chest compressions, significantly enhances the likelihood of maintaining sufficient oxygen supply to critical organs such as the brain. This sustains the person’s life until the deployment of an automated external defibrillator (AED) or the arrival of advanced medical assistance.
The Chain of Survival is a helpful resource as provided by the American Heart Association:
A strong Chain of Survival can improve chances of survival and recovery for victims of cardiac arrest”
Are AEDs safe to use?
Yes, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to be safe for use by laypersons and trained individuals alike. AEDs are equipped with built-in safety features and clear voice prompts that guide the user through each step of the process. Here are some reasons why AEDs are considered safe to use:
1. Voice Instructions: AEDs provide clear and easy-to-follow voice instructions that guide users through the entire process, from pad placement to shock delivery.
2. Automated Analysis: AEDs have the capability to analyze the person’s heart rhythm and determine whether a shock is necessary. They will only advise a shock if a shockable rhythm is detected, minimizing the risk of unnecessary shocks.
3. Energy Control: AEDs are designed to deliver controlled amounts of electrical energy in a safe manner. The energy level used for defibrillation is carefully calibrated to be effective while minimizing the potential for harm.
4. Shock Delivery Timing: AEDs are programmed to deliver shocks only during specific points in the cardiac cycle, reducing the likelihood of delivering a shock during a potentially harmful phase.
5. Child and Adult Use: Many AEDs have pediatric pads or settings, which adjust the energy level for children. This further enhances safety when using an AED on individuals of different ages.
6. No Shock Advised: If the AED determines that a shock is not needed, it will clearly advise against it, ensuring that users don’t inadvertently deliver a shock when it’s not required.
7. Pad Placement Guidance: AEDs often provide visual and voice prompts to guide users on proper pad placement, which helps prevent errors.
Despite their safety features, it’s still recommended to receive basic CPR and AED training. Knowing how to respond in an emergency situation and understanding how to use an AED correctly can further enhance safety and increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Can AEDs cause accidental shocks?
Unintended shocks from defibrillators during CPR are underreported, and managing caregivers who experience accidental shock remains undefined. One study in King County, Washington reported injury rates of 1 per 1,700 shocks (0.058%) for paramedics and 1 per 1,000 shocks (0.1%) for emergency medical technicians. However, current injury rates cannot be estimated due to limited literature and reporting.
Although defibrillators are designed to affect the patient’s heart, their effects on caregivers are not well-documented. Personal protective equipment, including gloves, is recommended during resuscitation, but their effectiveness against defibrillation shock is debated.
FC Safety provides guidelines to prevent and manage accidental shock incidents.
A systematic approach is needed to manage caregivers who experience accidental shock, including a focused history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram.