Here is a basic guide to using a defibrillator machine (aka AED, automated external defibrillator, defibrillator) on an adult. Of course there are intricacies when using a defibrillator, however they are meant to be easy to use and anyone should be able to use them in a first aid scenario. More detail on AED first aid is given below:
- Get defibrillator machine
- Press the on button and listen
- Ensure emergency services are called
- Ensure pads are attached to machine
- Apply pads to patients bare chest according to the pictures on each pad
- Do not touch the patient while the machine is analyzing
- If required, press the flashing shock button when the machine asks you to
- Continue CPR if needed
If you have someone who is unconscious and is not breathing and they need CPR, if you can get an AED and attach the pads, you have significantly increased their chance of survival (sometimes by up to 75%). They are the lifesavers, so when you are out and about try looking for where the nearest one is for you, such as in shopping centers or at your workplace.
So, here we go.
Using a Defibrillator
Please ensure the person performing CPR continues to do so until the defibrillator machine asks them to not touch the patient.
Get the AED and turn it on. All defibrillator machines should have 2 buttons, one will be the on button and the other will be the shock button.
The AED will then tell you what to do (they are great at this). They will ask you to call for emergency services if you have not already done so.
You will then need to make sure the pads (which go on the body) are attached to the machine. Some will already be attached and some will need you to plug the pads into a connector point (similar to plugging in an electrical appliance).
Once you have ensured the pads are attached to the machine you will need to put the pads on the persons chest. (Yes, this needs to happen while the other person is performing CPR). Each pad will have a picture on it depicting where the pads should be placed. One pad should be placed on the right side of the chest, above the nipple and just below the shoulder. The other pad is placed on the left side of the chest, below the nipple toward the end of the ribs and slightly on the side. The pads will need contact with clean dry skin when you are applying them.
Once you have the pads in the correct position, the AED will analyze the heart rhythm. For this no one should be touching the person. Also ensure there is no water or metal connecting the person with any of the rescuers.
Once the machine has analyzed the heart rhythm. It will make a decision if a shock will “fix” the problem. If a shock might fix the problem, the machine will charge up. Once the AED is charged, it will ask you to press the flashing shock button. When you press this button, it is up to you to make sure no one is touching the person. You may want to say “all clear” before you go ahead and press the button. When you press the flashing shock button, the person will “jump” like you image someone would if they experienced an electrical shock.
Once the shock has been delivered; the machine will ask you to commence CPR again. It will even give you a beat to perform the compressions at the correct timing.
If the person is needing CPR for a reason that is not “fixable” with an AED, after analyzing the rhythm it will say “non shockable rhythm, continue CPR” and it wont even charge up. So there is no danger of accidentally shocking someone while using a defibrillator.