General FAQs about AEDs
An AED is a portable medical device that delivers a life-saving shock to a heart that is in distress. The AED analyzes the heart’s rhythm and then advises the operator whether or not a shock is necessary.
Fully automatic AEDs will deliver the shock without requiring the user to push the button, while semi-automatic AEDs require the user to push the shock button.
AEDs may use audible and visual notifications to guide the user through a rescue. Including the administration of CPR.
If a person’s heart is in a “shockable” rhythm during cardiac arrest, an AED can provide an electrical shock to help the heart resume its normal rhythm.
Early CPR, combined with early defibrillation, can increase survival rates for cardiac arrest victims by up to 75%, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
For every one-minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7 to 10%. After more than 12 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, the survival rate is less than 5%.
Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That’s one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes. Without rapid and appropriate treatment, most of these cardiac arrests will result in death. Thousands of lives could be saved through public access to automated external defibrillators.
You should only use an AED on a person if their heart suddenly stops beating or if they are experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). An AED should be used when a person is unconscious (not responsive) and not breathing properly.
A person is likely experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest if they:
- Collapse suddenly and lose consciousness (pass out).
- Are not breathing or they are gasping for air or their breathing is abnormal.
- Do not respond to shouting or shaking.
- Do not have a pulse.
If you encounter someone with these symptoms, call EMS/911, designate someone to search for a defibrillator, and immediately begin CPR.
An AED is programmed to tell rescuers exactly what to do using voice and visual prompts. Rescuers attach adhesive electrode pads to the person’s chest. Through these electrodes, the AED is designed to automatically analyze the electrical activity of the heart to determine if a “shockable” rhythm is present.
With voice prompts and pictures, the AED guides rescuers through the resuscitation process, advising them when to give CPR. If the AED determines the person’s heart needs a shock, it tells rescuers to stand back and stay clear so a shock can be safely given through the adhesive electrode pads affixed to the person’s chest. (Note: Some AED models will tell the user to push a button to shock, and others will provide it automatically after giving rescuers an “all clear” warning.)
The delivery of an electrical shock to a heart experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) briefly stops all electrical activity in the heart. This brief break from the previous electrical chaos can be enough for the heart to restart with a normal sinus rhythm.
Yes. An AED is easy to operate and designed to be used by people with little or no training. When the AED is switched on, it will begin coaching the user through the event using audible prompts and visual cues, such as lights or physical diagrams, or even a video screen.
Anyone can use an AED to help save a life. They are designed to help people with minimal training use them safely in tense, emergency situations.
AEDs have numerous built-in safeguards and are designed to deliver a shock only if the AED detects one or more shocks are necessary. Their ease of use and built-in safety mechanisms make AEDs suitable for use in community or company-wide programs.
It helps if the person has taken a CPR and AED training class. People with CPR training will be able to recognize when a person may need an AED and will feel more confident operating the device, however, many lives have been saved by those with no previous training.
An AED is so easy to use that even untrained older children can operate one quickly and correctly.
Some forward-thinking school boards are purchasing AEDs and training their students. All school-aged children should be trained to use AEDs and provide first aid and CPR.
AEDs should be placed in areas where there are high concentrations of people. They are often found in schools, health and fitness clubs, community centres, airports, religious gathering places and malls.
Ideally, every home and workplace would have an AED.
US statistics reveal that approximately 1600 lives per day are lost due to no AED being readily available. Anyone could suffer from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Risk is not just limited to those who are elderly or obese. Young, fit people with no symptoms suffer at a lower rate but are still susceptible.
Not everyone can be saved from Sudden Cardiac Arrest, even with defibrillation. But early defibrillation, especially when delivered within three to five minutes of a person’s collapse from SCA, does give a person the best chance for survival.
After ten minutes without defibrillation or CPR, the person’s chances for survival diminish significantly.
An AED will not treat a non-shockable heart rhythm. However, defibrillation is the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest. Early treatment is essential.
Yes. Having an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in your workplace or community can make the difference between life and death.
An AED can increase someone's survival chances by up to 44 percent. Without an AED, the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent for each minute that passes without defibrillation.
Legislation in provinces across Canada protects individuals who use AEDs from liability when they are used in the context of saving a life. Information about individual provincial regulations can be obtained from the provincial Heart and Stroke Foundation offices.
No, you don't need to be near an electrical outlet to use an AED. All AEDs are battery-powered.
CPR buys time for the person while waiting for the AED to be delivered to the scene.
CPR mimics the heart’s pumping of oxygenated blood to the body and brain and keeps the brain and body alive by supplying them with oxygen-rich blood. CPR is a critical link in the chain of survival.
The American Heart Association says that if performed immediately, CPR can double or triple the chance of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Yes. An AED is designed to introduce a lower dose shock when it is used on a child or infant.
Some AEDs have separate pediatric pads, while others may adjust using a key (like the Philips FRx).
Most manufacturer guidelines set the size cutoff at 65 pounds for pediatric defibrillation.
FAQs about purchasing an AED
Some people may need a small, lightweight AED, while others may need something more rugged. If you can let us know the reason you are considering purchasing an AED, where it will be located and who is likely to use it, we will be able to advise you on which unit best suits your needs.
Yes. We will invoice you when we receive your order, and full payment is required before shipping.