What is an AED?

Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) are small portable lifesaving devices that can deliver an electrical shock when a person has suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). 

All AED’s give voice prompts so that the user can follow clear instructions enabling them to effectively use the machine even if they are not trained to use it.

How does an AED work?

Once the user has attached the AED electrodes it analyses the heart to see if there is any abnormal electrical activity, when the analysis is completed the machine will determine if a shock is required or not. Importantly an AED will only deliver a shock to somebody who needs it!

Before a shock is administered the AED tells rescuers to stand clear so a shock can be safely delivered via the adhesive electrode pads affixed to the person's chest. (Note: Some AED models will instruct the user to push a button to shock the victim, while others are fully automatic and will automatically give the shock after giving rescuers a 'stand clear' warning.)

The delivery of an electrical shock to a heart experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) briefly stops all electrical activity in the heart. This brief break from the previous electrical chaos can be enough for the heart to restart with a normal rhythm.

Unfortunately not everyone can be saved from SCA, even with defibrillation. But early defibrillation, especially when delivered within three to five minutes of a person's collapse from SCA, does provide the best chance for survival.

It's that simple.