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Toolbox Talk: Best Practices for an AED

By February 7, 2023 No Comments
Caution: The following information was taken from The American Red Cross,”Workplace Training, Standard First Aid Instructor’s Manual,”and is intended for information purposes only. This information should not be used in place of a certified AED training course. Do not attempt to use an AED without taking the appropriate training course.

When an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is brought to the scene, halt CPR and again check if the victim is breathing. If not, have a trained individual use the AED with the following steps outlined:

  1. Position the victim away from water and metal. Place the AED near the victim’s shoulder and turn it on.
  2. Expose the victim’s chest and dry or shave the electrode pad area, if necessary (A razor should be included in the AED kit.)
  3. Apply pads to the victim’s chest according to the placement diagram. Be sure to check that the cables are plugged into the unit.
  4. Ensure you and other bystanders are clear of the victim during a rhythm analysis.
  5. Follow the prompts from the AED to either press the shock button or immediately give CPR with the shock pads in place, starting with chest compressions.
  6. Again, be sure everyone stands clear of the victim for rhythm analysis.
  7. Continue steps 5 and 6 until the victim moves or professional rescuers arrive on the scene to take over.
  8. If the victim moves, check for breathing. Place a breathing, unresponsive victim in the recovery position.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is an AED and what does it do?

An AED analyzes the heart’s rhythm and tells a first aid provider to deliver a shock to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. This shock is called defibrillation and may help the heart reestablish an effective rhythm. Studies have shown that early defibrillation increases a victim of sudden cardiac arrest’s chances for survival (90% within the first minute of cardiac arrest.)Each minute after that is delayed reduces the chance of survival by about 10%.

Do AEDs need regular maintenance?

Yes, all AEDs need to be maintained on a regular basis. Maintenance includes checking and changing batteries and electrode cables, and pads. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the maintenance of the AED at your worksite.

Do I need to know how to do Cardiopulmonary resuscitation(CPR) in order to use an AED?

No, although it is recommended. Sometimes an AED will tell you not to shock a victim. At that time, check the victim’s pulse. If the victim has no pulse, proceed with CPR if you are trained. In all events, emergency services should have been contacted before even beginning the use of the AED.

If the location of the pads on the chest is reversed, will the AED still work?

Yes, if the placement of the pads on the chest is reversed, the AED will still work.

Should the pads be removed when the AED prompts, “No shock advised, continue CPR”?

No, the pads should not be removed. The AED may tell you that additional shocks are needed.

Are there any special considerations when placing electrode pads on a female victim?

If the victim is wearing a bra, remove it before placing the electrode pads. Place one electrode pad on the victim’s upper right chest and one on the lower left side under the victim’s left breast.

Can AEDs be used safely in the rain and snow?

Yes, it is safe to use AEDs in all weather conditions. However, if possible, move to a shelter and keep the victim protected from inclement weather. If the victim is lying in the water, move them to a relatively dry area before using the AED. In wet weather, be sure to wipe the victim’s chest dry before placing the electrode pads.

AED Precautions

  • Do not touch the victim while defibrillating; you or someone else could get shocked
  • Do not use alcohol to wipe the victim’s chest dry; alcohol is flammable
  • Do not use an AED in a moving vehicle; movement may affect the analysis
  • Do not use an AED on a victim lying on a conductive surface; conductive surfaces, such as sheet metal or metal bleachers, may transfer the shock to others
  • Do not touch the victim while the AED is analyzing; touching or moving the victim may affect the analysis
  • Do not defibrillate someone around flammable materials, such as gasoline or free-flowing oxygen

Remember, we’re hooked on safety!

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