AEDs/Defibrillators Save Lives

Do you know how to use a 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 your workplace, a school or community. Here’s what you can do to make sure you and the people around you are ready to act.

 

Firstly, what is an AED?

 

An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator, it is a portable, simple to use, computerised device that can be used by anyone when someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest to deliver a shock to the heart to allow it to resume its normal beating.

 

What is a cardiac arrest?

 

A cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of heart function which causes a person to suddenly collapse and when this happens the person will not respond and will not be breathing normally (either only gasping or not breathing at all). This sudden collapse is caused because the heart’s electrical system has malfunctioned and without immediate CPR and defibrillation the person will not survive.

 

How an AED (and you) would save their life.

 

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can be used in such a situation to analyse the heart’s rhythm and it will automatically recognise if there is a life threatening rhythm that it can shock to stun the heart, allowing it to restore its normal electrical and pumping functions.

For more detailed information or to apply to become recognised as a Heartsafe community please download our Heartsafe Community Information Pack.

 

Purchasing and setting up an AED

 

If you wish to purchase an AED for your workplace, school, sports club or community there are a number of different things you should be aware of in regard to the purchase, placement, training and maintenance of the AED. The following provides a brief overview of some of these considerations.

 

General Questions to Consider when Purchasing an AED:

 

There are a variety 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 you will buy:

 

 

You may also wish to review the leaflet produced by the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) regarding buying and storing an AED which also includes information regarding how to report an incident if you encounter any operational issues with your AED. View the HPRA advice leaflet on AEDS here.

 

Budgeting:

 

When purchasing an AED there are a number of items along with the actual cost of the AED itself which you may wish to consider:

 

 

Suppliers:

 

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 Foundation does not make any endorsement of or recommend any particular supplier or model of AED.

 

Ambicare Group Limited – Dan Corbett, phone: 087 2956762 or 1890 911 999

Cardiac Services – David O’Connor, phone: 087 2591801

Elite Ambulance – Donal Twomey, phone: 021 4524666

Emergency Care Limited – Paul Downes, phone: 01 6434757

Fleming Medical – Phone: 061 304600

Heartbeat – Phone: 045 895144

Hibernian Healthcare – Alan Moran, phone: 086 8073247

Oxygen Care – Conrad Wynne, phone: 01 276 9700

Pulse Medical – Brian Downes, phone: 01 640 2615

Safety Ireland – James Butler, phone: 086 384 7002

Safety Solutions – Hugh Grennan, phone: 087 2320346

Safety Tec – Kieran Egan, phone: 087 6582807

SP Services – Trevor Mulcahy, phone: 085 7502000

Zoll – John Hutchinson, phone: 01 283 9999

 

Choosing a Location for your AED:

 

Accessibility and visibility are the key to choosing a location for your AED. Whether you are placing your AED(s) within a building such as in a workplace or outside within your community they should be central and in a location that is within the limits of operation as set by the manufacturer.

It is important that you regularly check your AED so a central spot within a building or community is ideal for easily checking the AED to ensure it is usable and the battery and pads are within date.

You may also consider signage so that bystanders are aware of its location and if you are placing your AED outside you should ensure it is kept in an appropriate storage cabinet as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Storage Cabinets:

 

As all AEDs have different specifications make sure the cabinet you choose will provide the appropriate protection for your AED within the manufacturer’s specifications for your particular model. When buying a storage cabinet make sure it is fit for purpose for the intended location, i.e. indoors or outdoors and while security may be considered, you should ensure that it will not hinder prompt access to the unit in an emergency.

 

Guidelines and Maintenance:

 

Where an AED is located within a building it is important to ensure a unified and uniform approach by responders. Therefore you should ensure that you have clear, written guidelines as to how your emergency response system will work. This helps ensure responders are clear as to their responsibilities and how they respond to an incident.

You should ensure your AED is regularly checked to ensure it is in working order and ready for use. You may wish to establish your own checklist similar to this sample AED checklist developed by the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council. View their sample AED checklist.

More on CPR

Our guides on all you need to know about CPR.

Find a Course in Your Area

Find a course in your area today and be ready. Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any age, from kids to grandparents.

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Hands-only CPR

Memorising this could be the difference for someone you love. By knowing CPR you can double or triple their chances of survival.

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Heartsafe Community Award

When it comes to cardiac arrest, there's strength in numbers. But for that to happen, we need people to step up and take action.

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