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How to Use an AED

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and produces a safe electric shock for individuals experiencing a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

SCA occurs when there is a disruption in the heart’s electrical activity, causing ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, ineffective pumping and a stopped heart. The electric shock created by an AED helps the heart to reestablish a consistent cadence.

Steps to Use an AED

Anyone can use and find AEDs on walls in public spaces like malls, schools, grocery stores and more. Many have a voice prompt to guide operators through the AED usage instructions. However, understanding the steps for using an AED can make all the difference in a life-saving situation.

Quick AED Steps to Use on Adults

Consider the following steps for using an AED on an adult:

  • Gently shake the person’s shoulder, checking for a response.
  • Call 911.
  • Find the closest AED and turn it on.
  • Clear the person’s chest of all obstacles.
  • Place the pads on the upper right and lower left of their chest.
  • The AED will evaluate the heart’s rhythm and signify if a shock is needed.
  • If a shock is advised, clear the area, ensure no one is touching the person and deliver the shock.
  • Administer CPR for two minutes and reanalyze.
  • Continue until paramedics arrive.

Quick AED Steps to Use on Children

AEDs used on children may require a set of pediatric electrode pads and use a button, or key, to initiate “child mode” and lessen the voltage. The standard voltage for adults is 150 joules and 50 joules for kids.

Take a look at the steps below to understand how to use an AED on a child:

  • Check the child’s responsiveness, shaking gently and asking, “Can you hear me?”
  • Call 911.
  • Find an AED and turn it on.
  • Insert the child key or press the child button to reduce voltage.
  • Install child pads, if required.
  • Expose the child’s chest, clearing any clothing or other obstacles.
  • Place pads in the center of their chest and back.
  • The AED will analyze the child’s rhythm and alert you if a shock is needed.
  • If a shock is necessary, clear the area and deliver the shock.
  • Administer CPR and reanalyze.
  • Continue until paramedics arrive on the scene.

Sign Up for an EMT Course

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Texas EMT using an AED