Do you know how to use an AED/defibrillator? Do you know where your nearest one is in an emergency? Purchasing a defibrillator and taking the time to know how to use it will most likely save the life of someone you know.
Be it in work, school or the community. Here is what you can do to make sure you and the people around you are ready to act in an emergency.
An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator. It is a portable, simple to use, computerised device. When someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest it delivers a shock to the heart to allow it to resume its normal rhythm.
A cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of heart function which causes a person to collapse. When this happens the person will not respond and will not be breathing normally (either gasping or not breathing at all). This is caused because something has gone wrong with the heart’s electrical system, and without immediate CPR and defibrillation the person will not survive.
An AED checks the heart’s rhythm and it automatically recognises if there is a life threatening rhythm. Once detected the AED delivers a shock to stun the heart returning it to its normal rhythm.
There are a number of things to keep in mind before buying an AED for your workplace, school, sports club or community. The following provides a brief overview of some of these considerations.
There are a number of different AED models available and the Irish Heart Foundation does not recommend any particular brand. However, you may find the following questions useful when choosing which AED to buy:
You may also wish to review the leaflet produced by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) on buying and storing an AED which also includes information on reporting any operational issues with your AED. You can view the HPRA advice leaflet on AEDs here.
When buying an AED there are a number of things apart from the actual cost of the AED itself which you may wish to consider:
There are various suppliers of AEDS in Ireland and the following is only a selection of those who have made themselves known to the Irish Heart Foundation. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and the Irish Heart Foundation does not endorse or recommend any particular AED model or supplier.
Cardiac Services – Contact David O’Connor on 0872591801
Elite Ambulance – Contact Donal Twomey on 0214524711
Fleming Medical – Contact the Sales Team on 061304600
Hibernian Healthcare – Contact Alan Moran on 014604820
Oxygen Care – Contact Conrad Wynne on 012769700
Pulse Medical – Contact Brian Downes on 016402615
Safety Ireland – Contact James Butler on 014422999
Safety Solutions – Contact Hugh Grennan 0872320346
SP Services – Contact Trevor Mulcahy on 0857502000
Zoll – Contact John Hutchinson on 012839999
Accessibility and visibility are key to choosing a location for your AED. Whether you are placing your AED in a building such as in a workplace, or outside in your community, it should be located in a central location and somewhere within the limits of operation as set by the manufacturer.
It is important that you regularly check your AED to ensure it works and the battery and pads are within date.
You may also consider signage so that bystanders are aware of its location. If you are placing your AED outside, make sure it is kept in an appropriate storage cabinet as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
As all AEDs have different specifications make sure the cabinet you choose provides appropriate protection for the AED as per the manufacturer’s specifications. When buying a storage cabinet make sure it is fit for purpose for the intended location, i.e. indoors or outdoors. While security may be an issue, please make sure that it does not hinder access to the AED in an emergency.
Where an AED is located inside a building it is important that all responders use it in the same way. Therefore, you should have clear, written guidelines as to how the emergency response system will work. This helps to ensure that responders are clear as to their responsibilities and how they are expected to respond to an incident.
Your AED should be checked regularly to ensure it is in working order and ready for use. You may wish to write your own AED checklist similar to this sample list developed by the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC). View the PHECC AED checklist.