Got questions? We have answers.
When should I use a defibrillator?
Defibrillators should be used when someone suffers cardiac arrest. Patients in cardiac arrest will collapse, have no pulse, lose consciousness and will not be breathing normally.
Is cardiac arrest the same as a heart attack?
People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not the same. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem. Both are medical emergencies – you should always call 000.
Do I need training to use a defibrillator?
Defibrillators are designed to be used by anyone, no training needed. They come with very clear visual and verbal instructions that guide you through each step of response. Each defibrillator is slightly different though, so it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the model you have chosen. Our resources section has demonstration videos of all the devices we sell.
How long do the batteries and pads last?
It depends on the make and model of your AED. They will be labelled with an expiry date. We recommend replacing them promptly to make sure your device is always in good working order.
Do I need to get my AED serviced?
AEDs do not need to be serviced, but they do need to be maintained and monitored. Monthly checks need to occur to ensure your device is always in working order. Parts like batteries and pads with expiry dates will need to be replaced from time to time. Our Concierge product takes care of the administration of these tasks for you.
Can I use an AED on a child?
While all AEDS are made with adults in mind, there are paediatric pads and settings that adjust the energy level used in the shock. This makes them suitable for younger children (less than 8 years). The advice from the Australian Resuscitation Council is that any attempt at resuscitation is better than none, so if infant or paediatric settings and pads are not available, rescuers may use adult pads on infants and young children. Apply one pad to the front of the chest and the other to the child’s back so that the pads do not come into contact with one another.
Where should I keep my AED?
AEDS should be where people can easily find and see them: well-signed, easy-to-reach positions. They are most effective when used within the first three minutes of someone experiencing cardiac arrest, so place them in central locations. Don’t lock your defibrillator away. If you ever need to use it, you will want to grab it as quickly as possible.
Do I need to do CPR if I use a defibrillator?
Yes, you do. This is where Call, Push, Shock comes in to play. A series of basic life support steps that, when followed promptly, give the best chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Each of these simple steps can and should be performed by anyone. Starting CPR as early as possible buys time while someone gets the AED. Chest compressions help oxygenated blood flow to the person’s brain and heart until an AED can be used to attempt to restore normal heart pumping or advanced medical personnel arrive.
Can I accidentally shock someone or hurt myself?
No, you can’t. AEDs work by analysing the heart’s rhythm through the electrode pads that are placed on the patient. A shock will be delivered through the pads only if an abnormal rhythm is detected, only if the patient needs it.
Can I use an AED on someone with a pacemaker?
Yes, they are safe to use. However, it is recommended that the electrode pads are not placed directly over the pacemaker.
Can I use a defibrillator on a hairy chest?
Body hair can prevent the electrode pads from having good contact with the skin. Good skin contact is needed to evaluate the heart’s rhythm and effectively deliver a shock. We provide a shaving razor in our first responder kit with all of our AEDs so that the rescuer can shave the patient if required.
Do AEDs work if the patient is wet or sweaty?
It is important for the electrode pads to have good contact with the skin. Wet or sweaty skin may prevent the pads from adhering properly. If possible dry the skin before placing the pads on the patient.
How many AEDs do I need?
There are a few things to consider when determining how many AED units are right for you and where you should place them. Except in the case of a small building, it is usually recommended that a minimum of one AED unit be placed on each floor. The primary objective for any successful AED program is to achieve a three minute response time from collapse of a victim to arrival of the AED unit. When making any decisions about placement use this as a guide to determine where and how many units to place. You can find more information about how to assess your site here.