When any heavily populated area is visited, such as an airport, university, shopping center, sports arena or casino, and you'll mostly likely see an AED, or automated external defibrillator in plain view. There's a misconception that these defibrillators are only found in a doctor's office or emergency room, but now are in many areas for anyone to use in the case that an emergency comes up. It's not just medical professionals that should know how to operate this piece of machinery.
While this device may look tricky to operate, an AED is a particularly user friendly and can be used in times of life threatening cardiac arrhythmias, which can also lead to cardiac arrest. Here is an easy guide to using an AED.

  1. If someone looks like they're going into cardiac arrest, call 911 and inspect the victim's breathing and airway. If the individual isn't breathing, start CPR and have someone track down the AED.
  2. Fasten the AED with the sticky pads to the victim's chest, keeping with the directions found on the machine, and power on the device.
  3. Stop performing CPR and say, "Clear," making sure that no one has their hands on the person. Press the "Analyze" button to identify the shocks. A shock is identified if the victim's heart is in ventricular fibrillation. A "no shock" screen signifies that the victim has a pulse, has recouped the lost pulse, or the victim is pulseless, but is not in a shockable rhythm.
  4. If the machine identifies that shock is required, make certain that everyone is clear of the victim. Turn on the shock button to give the first shock and without delay, start CPR for five cycles, leaving the adhesive pads where they are while performing CPR.
  5. Verify the victim's rhythm after carrying out CPR and revert back to Step 3. If told by the defibrillator, give another shock. If the machine indicates a "no shock" screen after the analysis, confirm the victim's pulse and breathing status. If there's a pulse, keep an eye on the victim's airway and provide rescue breathing as necessary.

When buying an AED, think about finding used medical equipment as you can find great deals. An AED is aimed for simple usage and some brands will actually call every step aloud for the user to listen to, allowing for easy use under high stress situations.