What is an AED?

Automated External Defibrillator

An AED is a small electronic device designed to allow minimally-trained people to provide lifesaving defibrillation (electric shock to the heart) to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. During sudden cardiac arrest, the normally organized electrical impulses that initiate cardiac contraction (heartbeats) discharge chaotically, and the heart muscle twitches spasmodically. A defibrillator applies a brief pulse of electrical current to a heart, allowing the heart’s normal electrical system to resume control. 

    Anyone who has minimal CPR and AED training can use an AED to help save a life.

    Many people around the world are trained, including police and security officers, firefighters, athletic trainers, flight attendants and lifeguards. Newly-developed AEDs such as the LIFEPAK CR2 offer greater ease of use and can be found in schools, health clubs, community centres, religious communities, homes and many other locations. AEDs are designed to help people with minimal training use them safely in tense, emergency situations. They 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.

    Why purchase an AED?

    Time to defibrillation, the most critical factor in Sudden Cardiac Arrest survival, can be reduced if an AED is on-site and can be brought to the victim quickly. This is one of the reasons survival rates improve in communities with active AED programs. Remember, every minute that passes before defibrillation reduces survival rates by 7-10 percent.

    An AED costs about as much as a personal computer and software, and is easy to use and maintain. Having AEDs readily available in schools, airports, stadiums and other public places makes sense. On-site AEDs can make the difference.