How to Use a Defibrillator for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

When a medical emergency strikes, it’s important to act quickly to save lives and deliver essential treatment and care while waiting for emergency services. While many workplaces, offices and public spaces have an AED onsite, many people worry that they don’t have the required skills or knowledge to operate one properly. Here’s some important information on how to use a defibrillator if someone near you suffers a cardiac arrest.

Stay Calm – Using a Defibrillator is Simple

AEDs are fantastic devices because they make using them so simple and easy – even a child can do it. They are very safe to operate, and you can use one even if you have had no medical or even first aid training.

What to Do Before Using a Defibrillator

Before you use a defibrillator, you should always:

  • Contact emergency services – Call emergency services (000) and explain what has happened, so that they will arrive on scene as quickly as possible. They can stay on the line to assist you as well, so place your phone nearby you as you work and turn it onto speaker mode.
  • Confirm cardiac arrest – A defibrillator should only be used on someone who has experienced cardiac arrest. Symptoms of cardiac arrest include collapse, unconsciousness and lack of breathing. If a person is still responsive, keep the defibrillator nearby but do not use it.
  • Secure the patient – Move the patient away from any water and remove all clothing covering their chest. If the person is injured, speak to your emergency services contact for advice, as you may need to apply first aid.

Using an AED

  • Power up the defibrillator – This will activate the instructions that you can follow. You may need to select a mode for either a child patient or an adult patient.
  • Attach the electrode pads – Place the pads in position on the person’s chest as instructed by the defibrillator. One pad will be located on the centre-right of the person’s chest, and the other will be on the lower left side of their chest.Many defibrillators have a voice prompt as well as a visual guide on how to perform this step.
  • Analysis – Depending on the model type, the AED defibrillator will automatically begin analysing the person’s heart rhythm or it will prompt you to press the “analyse” button. This will allow the device to diagnose and monitor the person in order to safely apply the electric shock. Do not touch the patient and keep everyone else back from them.
  • Apply the shock – If the AED defibrillator detects that an electrical shock is needed, it will either direct you to press a button to deliver the controlled electric shock at the right time (if it is a semi-automatic AED) or it will automatically deliver the shock at the right time (if it is a fully-automatic AED). Again, it is important not to touch the patient at all during this time.
  • CRP and rescue breathing – The AED defibrillator will go back into analysis mode after the shock. Wait for the device to prompt you, and then begin CPR and rescue breathing as instructed. Again, the device will use voice and/or visual prompts to guide you in how to do this.
  • Repeat shock – If necessary, the AED may apply a second controlled shock. It will prompt you that this will occur, and you simply repeat the process as instructed.
  • This cycle will repeat according to the patient’s needs until emergency services arrive and take over.

Why Choose an AED for Your Workplace?

AEDs are the go-to choice for fast, effective treatment of cardiac arrest, making them an essential part of emergency kits for first responders, gyms and fitness centres, healthcare centres and clinics, schools and colleges, offices, shopping centres, hotels and camping grounds. So, what makes these devices so popular?

  • They are lightweight, easy to store and handle – ready to save a life in just a few seconds.
  • They are easy to use – with voice prompts and visual prompts, anyone can use an AEDsafely, even untrained bystanders and children.
  • They are comprehensive but compact – they have everything you need in one small pack, no need to buy, store and keep track of additional parts.
  • They are easy to maintain – these devices are built to last, with batteries offering a lifespan of around 5 years in standby mode. The devices are robust and parts are widely available from reputable suppliers. They also have self-diagnostic capabilities, making it easy to routinely test your device to make sure it’s fully-operational.
  • They are robust – AEDs are up to any task and can handle any environment, whether it’s a child or adult who needs help. The Phillips AED, for example, is waterproof, can handle 225kgs of pressure, and can operate at altitudes of more than 4.5kms.

At DefibsPlus, we have a wide range of high-quality, affordable AEDs as well as defibrillator batteries, cases, signage, prep kits and power cords ready to supply you. We also provide professional training for individuals, staff and teams to ensure that you feel confident, ready and able to assist anyone experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Please contact us today to find out more about our range of AEDs the defibrillator training programs we offer or how to choose the right defibrillator for your organisation.