Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are becoming standard safety equipment in many public places and can be lifesavers. Consider that for every minute the heart is stopped, the likelihood of death increases by 10 percent so early treatment of a sudden cardiac arrest can greatly increase a victim’s survival rate.
How Do They Work?
A built-in computer on an AED checks a victim’s heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes. The computer calculates whether defibrillation is needed. If it is, a recorded voice prompts the rescuer to press the shock button on the AED. This shock momentarily stuns the heart and stops all activity. It gives the heart the chance to resume beating effectively. Audible prompts guide the user through the process. AEDs advise a shock only for ventricular fibrillation or another life-threatening condition called pulseless ventricular tachycardia.
Who can use an AED?
Most AEDs use audible voice prompts to guide the user through the process. While formal training in the use of an AED is not required and they are intended for use by the general public, training is highly recommended to help the rescuer increase their comfort and level of confidence. The ideal option for the church is to have a physician or registered nurse oversee the program.
Are AEDs safe to use?
AEDs are safe to use by anyone. Some studies have shown that 90 percent of the time AEDs are able to detect a rhythm that should be defibrillated. This data suggests that AEDs are highly effective in detecting when (or when not) to deliver a shock.
If you haven’t looked into whether your church should have an AED, now might be a good time. When you do get one, it’s very important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for keeping the equipment ready for an emergency.