What Everyone Should Know About AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators)

If you’ve seen movie or TV show where a character’s heart stops beating, you’ve probably seen a defibrillator in action. Someone will say something like “bring out the paddles” followed by “charging” and finally “CLEAR” as they press the two ends of the device against a person’s chest.

The person’s body will convulse, their heart will spike, and potentially, their life will be saved.

But is that really how defibrillators work? Can anyone use them? Here’s what you should know when it comes to defibrillators.

There are Different Types of Defibrillators

Defibrillation is the act of stimulating the heart with an electrical current or countershock. This can be done in a number of ways, most commonly from outside of the body, though in cases of surgery, the current may be applied directly to the heart.

While paramedics and other medical professionals typically use a manual defibrillator, the devices you’ll find at schools, offices, and other facilities are automatic external defibrillators or AEDs.

What is an AED?

An AED is a device designed specifically with ease of use in mind. True to its name, an AED does most of the work automatically. Instead of holding two charging paddles, two pads are attached to the chest of the victim.

The machine will determine the voltage needed (or whether or not defibrillation is needed at all). From there, it will provide instructions for the user to follow.

Do I Need Training for an AED?

While AEDs are designed to be simple enough for anyone to use, professional training is very helpful in preparing a person to use an AED. With proper training, you’ll not only learn when and how to use an AED, but you’ll learn what to do before and after using it.

The end result is the skills and knowledge that could save a person’s life.

AED training is covered in standard BLS and first aid certification courses. To get your first aid certification MN, visit our public classes page or contact us directly to schedule onsite training.