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When to Use a Defibrillator

When to Use a Defibrillator

When to Use a Defibrillator 

Cardiac arrest can happen at any time and, with an onset of a matter of seconds, a fast response is crucial. Over the past few years, more and more defibrillators have been installed in public places like phone boxes, public bathrooms, shopping centres, schools, and community buildings to give people a greater chance of survival when cardiac arrest strikes.

In this blog post, we’ll answer the question ‘when do you use a defibrillator’?

Defibrillator in public space

Manual Defibrillators and AEDs

There are several different types of defibrillators but the most common types are manual defibrillators and AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) or PADs (Public Access Defibrillators). Manual defibrillators are only used by medical professionals who are qualified to identify specific heart problems and use them accordingly. An AED defibrillator is designed to be used by people without training and can be used by the general public.

 An AED will help an untrained person to properly administer a shock and support someone with cardiac arrest until emergency services arrive. They always come with clear instructions that are easy to read under stress and will assess a heart rhythm and deliver a shock if needed. You cannot accidentally shock someone with an AED, it will only happen if the machine determines it necessary.

There are two types of AEDs, fully automatic defibrillators and semi-automatic defibrillators. The only difference between the two is that a fully automatic defib is ready to administer a shock on contact at the right moment and a semi-automatic defib require a button to be pressed to trigger the shock.

When should you use an AED?

When someone goes into cardiac arrest you should fetch a defibrillator and get it ready to use. Signs that someone has gone into cardiac arrest are: 

  • Collapsing
  • Falling unconscious
  • Being unresponsive
  • Not breathing
  • Breathing, but not normally (e.g. taking gasping breaths)
  • Lips or skin turning blue or very pale
Warning signs before someone goes into cardiac arrest

There could also be warning signs just before someone goes into cardiac arrest. They might:

  • Complain of chest pains
  • Complain of shortness of breath
  • Say they feel dizzy
  • Say they feel like their heart is racing or having palpitations

Without immediate medical attention, a person will die of cardiac arrest so it’s important to act quickly. Locate the nearest defibrillator or ask someone to find one for you and turn it on while you or someone else calls 999 and administers CPR. The next step after CPR is to use the defibrillator. An AED will come with clear instructions and you can also ask the 999 call handler to help you until emergency services arrive.

When Not to Use a Defibrillator 

When people look up ‘what is a defibrillator used for?’ they might also wonder when you shouldn’t use a defibrillator. These are the times when you shouldn’t use one:

  • When someone is having a heart attack. A heart attack happens when blood circulation is interrupted whereas a cardiac arrest is to do with the rhythm of the heartbeat. You can tell a heart attack from cardiac arrest because the person will still be conscious and breathing but will be in extreme pain.
  • If the AED is out of date or if it has faulty parts. Check the expiration date on an AED before you use it or ask someone else to check. If the AED is out of date or parts aren’t working properly you could put the person at more risk.

You should also be careful to check for the following:

  • Is the person lying in some water? Always move someone completely out of any water and dry off their chest before using an AED as you do not want the electricity of the pads to come into contact with water.
  • Do they have a pacemaker? Check for a hard lump about 4 inches across in the person’s chest. Never place an AED pad over a pacemaker, instead place it as close to the correct position as possible.
  • Does the person have a very hairy chest? Failure to make proper contact with the skin will mean the AED does not work. If possible, you could shave the area or if not just press down very hard.

Equip Your Business or a Public Space With an Aed 

The iPAD-SP1 AED is an ideal AED to keep in your business establishment or any area where it is your responsibility to oversee peoples’ safety. Doing this could mean the difference between life and death for someone. The iPAD-SP1 AED is extremely easy to use increasing the chances of an untrained person’s ability to help someone in cardiac arrest. Each one has the following features:

  • Easy to understand guidance including voice prompts meaning you can use the AED without having to look at instructions. The voice prompts also adjust automatically to be heard over loud noises if needed.
  • A switch to change between adult and child modes.
  • A pad indicator to show if a defib pad is not in the right place.
  • A safety cover that prevents accidentally switching it on.
  • Provides emergency crew with handover information including usage time and shocks delivered.
  • The pads are compatible with NHS Ambulance Services equipment
  • The lithium battery included has an expected 5-year warranty, you can also purchase replacement AED batteries from us
  • A 7-year warranty
  • A free upgrade to a 10-year warranty when you register with us

You can make it even easier for people to access and use your AED with an indoor cabinet that alerts people when it is opened, or a wall-mounted bracket that means your AED will be visible and easy to grab at the crucial moment.

Advanced Life Support & Equipment

Steroplast has a range of tried and tested life-saving and essential equipment that includes airway management, defibrillators and patient handling. Find out more below

If you would like a consultation with one of our experts about any of our Advanced Life Support & Equipment please get in touch:

0161 902 3030

When to Use a Defibrillator 

Watch our video below for more information on when to use a defibrillator: 

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