When you ask people what an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is, the typical response is usually, “oh, those things to shock people is they have cardiac arrest,” or “ aren’t they those green things I see in white boxes at gym’s and stuff?” Well of course both of these answers are correct, but what exactly does an AED do?
Most American’s that picture an AED is probably like me, and think of some medical show where the doctor is desperately trying to save someone’s life and they yell “clear!” as they smack a patient’s heart with paddles and the whole body jumps up. Well that’s not too far off. There is one big difference though. Anyone can use an AED.
AED’s are specifically built to be effective and simple. They provide clear instructions on where to place each paddle and a monitor that tells whether or not the victim needs more. One places the paddles and electrodes on the victim and the AED determines the level of energy is needed. This way there is no risk of an inexperienced gung-ho wannabe hero rushing in and shocking a victim that may only need a simple mouth to mouth necessitation. Because of this feature, AED’s are widely accessible to the public. For example, there is the Zoll AED Plus, which has features allowing someone with no medical experience the ability to save someone’s life.
The American Heart Association facilitates AED’s to be placed in any public place where someone may be at risk of heart failure. Oh, in case you were wondering, that’s pretty much anywhere. In addition, there are usually many local opportunities to receive training in proper CPR and AED use. Although an AED is easy to use, a little extra training is invaluable, so if the time ever comes up you can act without hesitation. When it comes to heart failure, every second counts and AED’s are there so anybody can use those crucial seconds effectively.