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Basic Steps for Using an AED

If a casualty has signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest such as being unresponsive or not breathing, begin CPR. Once the AED arrives, use the following steps:Graphic of male with AED electrode pads on his chest

  1. Power on the AED.
  2. Attach the electrode pads on casualty according to the instructions included.  These directions are generally to place first pad on upper right side of chest, just below the collarbone and the second pad on the lower left side of the chest, just below and to the left of the nipple.
  3. Allow the AED to analyze the casualty’s heart rhythm. Stop CPR and do not touch or move the casualty during this phase. No one should touch or have contact with the casualty for the next few steps.
  4. If defibrillation is required, the AED will prompt the responder to administer a shock or will automatically shock. Remember, do not touch the casualty while the AED is analyzing or shocking.
  5. Step back and announce, “Stand Clear!” to avoid inadvertently disturbing the analysis of the heart rhythm or risk shocking a responder or bystander. Scan the area to be sure everyone is clear of the casualty. Assistant responders should be trained to respond clearly and loudly that they are “Clear!
  6. If directed to do so, push the appropriate button to administer a shock to the casualty.
  7. Repeat shocks if prompted to do so. The AED is designed to administer shocks only when it is appropriate for the casualty’s condition.  A responder cannot accidentally administer an unneeded shock, even if the shock button is pressed repeatedly.
  8. Recheck for responsiveness. Resume CPR for 2 minutes. Allow the AED to analyze the heart rhythm every two minutes or until Emergency Medical Services arrive and take over care of the casualty.

Content excerpted from the Urgent First Aid Guide used by permission Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. Get a full copy of the First Aid Guide for under $1!

Automated External Defibrillation (AED) is something everyone should know, but is not something you can learn by reading a great article like this, nor with online training. Current research indicates that the chance of surviving Sudden Cardiac Arrest is improved by up to 70% if an AED is used within the first few minutes. Find out what to do with so little time, by signing up for AED Training at your location... check out American CPR Training™

2 thoughts on “Basic Steps for Using an AED”

  • Jack

    I could not resist commenting. Well written!

  • Sam Li

    I appreciate what you said about repeat shocks if you fell prompted to do so when it comes to using a defibrillator. When it comes to the health of people facing heart failure, it's important to use the proper equipment. If I were to need an AED it's best to work with a medical equipment supplier that has been in business for a long time.

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