How to use a defibrillator safely

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device able to recognise shockable rhythms in a casualty having a cardiac event (VT or VF) and to deliver an electric shock to revert the heart to its normal rhythm.AED

This electric shock is delivered through electrodes (pads) which are attached to an AED and to the casualty’s chest.

It is important to be aware of how to use an Automated External Defibrillator safely:

  • the defibrillator operator is in charge of the defibrillator, and reinforces the defibrillator instructions to other team members when prompted, (e.g. stand clear while shocking)
  • any metallic jewellery should be removed from the vicinity of the position of the electrode pads
  • the casualty should not be lying in or on anything wet
  • if in wet conditions (e.g. rain), the chest should be wiped dry before positioning the pads
  • contact between the pads and any metal surface should be avoided
  • only use equipment, e.g. pads, batteries, compatible with the unit
  • operators and bystanders must not have any contact with the casualty during analysis and delivery of the shock
  • the defibrillator should not be operated in an explosive environment (e.g. where gases or fumes might be present), or in close proximity to mobile phones, radios
  • oxygen flow should be directed away from the casualty

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