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VOL. 12 NO. 3
Take a class

In an emergency

Knowing how to use an AED could save a life

In an emergency

Do you know how to use an automated external defibrillator? One of the easiest pieces of lifesaving equipment around, an AED takes very little knowledge to use. Take a look at the mall, grocery store, restaurant or your marina, and I’ll bet you can find one on a wall.

Sudden cardiac death is usually the result of the heart going into an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. The only treatment is to defibrillate the heart so it can reset itself into a normal blood-pumping rhythm. Hence, the use of an AED. With early use of an AED (within 3 to 5 minutes), the person has a 70 percent chance of survival.

Don’t be afraid to use an AED. The machine will tell you exactly what to do.

Here’s what you should do if someone collapses, doesn’t respond and doesn’t appear to be breathing:

  • If necessary, move the person away from wetness before administering shocks.
  • Grab the AED, and turn it on. Have someone else call 911.
  • Place the pads on the person’s dry, bare chest. The device includes a picture of where to put them. The cables are usually attached to the AED.
  • Make sure no one is touching the person. The AED will say “analyzing.”
  • If it says “shock advised,” make sure no one is touching the person, yell “clear,” and push the shock button. Then continue with CPR until emergency help arrives.
  • If it says “no shock advised,” perform CPR.
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