Frequently Asked Questions




What is an AED?
An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a portable device designed to read the heart rhythm of a person in sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and deliver a potentially life-saving shock. All AEDs on the market today are intuitive, easy-to-use, and can save a life.
Do I have to be trained in order to use an AED?
Although it is not always necessary, we strongly suggest it. Even though AEDs are designed for easy use by untrained laypersons, we recommend formal training in their operation, along with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Training courses can help potential responders learn of the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest and, therefore, what to do before, during, and after an emergency situation.
Is my AED safe to touch? What if I accidentally shock someone or myself?
An AED will only deliver a shock if the electrode pads are applied and the AED detects a shockable heart rhythm in a patient.
How does an AED work?
An AED is a portable device which is very simple to operate. At a very basic level, you turn it on and follow the verbal instructions. Once turned on and the electrode pads are placed on the victim, the AED performs the first step of analyzing the victim’s heart rhythm to determine if one of the two heart rhythms it can treat are present. The two heart rhythms the AED looks for are Ventricular Fibrillation (pulseless, chaotic quivering of the heart, also called v-fib) and Ventricular Tachycardia (life-threatening rapid heartbeat, also called v-tach). If the AED identifies one of these two rhythms, it will instruct the rescuer a shock is advised and charge the AED. When the shock is administered, either automatically by the AED (in a fully-automatic AED) or after the rescuer pushes the shock button when instructed by the AED (in a semi-automatic AED), an effective electrical charge will flow between the electrode pads on the victim’s chest and into the victim’s heart. This electric shock stops the chaotic rhythm and then, because the heart has its own built-in pacemakers, the heart will start to beat on its own.
Why is an AED better than CPR?
An AED works in conjunction with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Both are critical components in the Chain of Survival. CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and vital organs, and an AED provides an electrical shock to help the heart reset itself to its natural rhythm.
Are AEDs safe to use on anyone?
Yes, AEDs are safe to use on anyone. Children under age 8 do require special pads or a special AED accessory to “dial down” the power to levels appropriate to their size. An AED will not shock unless it detects a shockable heart rhythm (Ventricular Fibrillation or Ventricular Tachycardia).
Who can use/operate an AED?
Anyone who can follow the directions on the AED can use it. All AEDs use both visual and vocal prompts to walk a user through a rescue. It requires no strength or stamina – even a child can deliver a shock. (It should be noted some strength and stamina is required for CPR, however.)
Where is a good location to place my AED?

AEDs should be placed in an easily-accessible, highly visible location within 1½ – 2 minutes of any possible sudden cardiac arrest event. AEDs should be readily accessible and available everywhere. This includes schools, workplaces, sports clubs, retirement villages and especially your very own home. NEVER place an AED in a locked cabinet or in any location which isn’t freely accessible.

How does one use an AED with CPR?
An AED will prompt a rescuer when to begin CPR and, depending on the make and model of the AED, will provide a metronome or beeps to keep you on track for the rate of compressions, while some AEDs can provide real-time feedback on the rate and/or depth of compressions. The AED will prompt when to stop compressions for analysis and shock, if needed.

Are You Ready to Jump In?

Truly, there is no greater human gift than to save the life of another, especially someone you love.

We look forward to assisting you, so that when the time comes you are ready to JUMP IN.