OUR 12 MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. Couldn't I kill someone if I don't know how to use the AED?
A. No, the patient is already clinically dead, if you do nothing they die, if you attempt to revive them they may well survive. The AED is responsible for the decision making process during a rescue attempt. The 000 operator may also offer you support and direction when needed.
Q. What if I make the person worse?
A. Doing nothing will most probably make the patient worse. Attempting to revive them may save their life.
Q. I can't use an AED if I'm not trained right?
A. No, regardless of your experience, Automated External Defibrillators are simple to use. Once the machine is opened its voice prompts direct you what to do.
Q. Only the medically qualified can use a defib?
A. Not true, Automated External Defibrillators are simple to use by laypersons. The AED has voice prompts which direct you throughout the rescue attempt. The AED makes the decision to defibrillate or not.
Q. We have an Ambulance station close by so we don't need a defib right?
A. It is vital to call 000 even if there is an ambulance station close by. Your local Paramedic's could be at another patient. Public access defibrillators are vital and we need as many defibrillators out there possible. In the ideal world there would be a defibrillator less then 3 minutes away from every cardiac arrest.
Q. We live close to a hospital so we don't need a defib right?
A. Hospital staff will not leave hospital grounds to attend to patients, therefore it is vital that we have as many public access defibrillators as possible.
Q. Do I have to blow in the patients mouth?
A. No, most defibrillators use a chest compression only sequence. Unless you are trained in mouth to mouth then you are not expected to blow into the mouth. Chest Compressions only CPR can be highly effective within the first minutes of a cardiac arrest.
Q. What about exposing a female patients chest?
A. It's important to maintain a patients dignity as much as possible during a rescue attempt, however a patients chest Male or Female must be exposed to place the sticky electrode pads in the correct position. The patient will may thank you later for helping to save their life. You could ask, bystanders not directly involved in the rescue, to move on or ask someone for a towel, blanket or jacket to help cover the patient in case they regain consciousness.
Q. Can I or other rescuers get electrocuted during a rescue attempt?
A. Modern AED's are specifically designed with highly adhesive electrode pads. When these pads are stuck to a patients chest, the danger of accidental arcing when a shock is being delivered is greatly reduced.
Q. What do we do if the patient is wet?
A. If a patient is laying in a pool of water they must be moved to drier ground. The area where the electrode pads are to be placed needs to be dry. The use of the patients own clothing to wipe away any moisture is usually enough to elevate danger.
Q. What if the patient has a Pacemaker?
A. If the patient is known to have a pacemaker yet they're in Cardiac Arrest then it must be assumed that the pacemaker is not functioning properly. Care must be taken to not place and electrode pads over the actual pacemaker site itself, but otherwise treat it like all other rescue attempts.
Q. What if the patient is pregnant?
A. If a pregnant patient is unconscious and in cardiac arrest then both the patient and the unborn are not receiving adequate blood circulation to sustain either life. Treat this like all other rescue attempts by being mindful to place the electrode pad in the clearly defined place on the patients chest.
Just about anyone can use an AED. They are safe and specifically designed to make all vital decisions, the rescuer is merely following direction. A layperson is only expected to render the most basics of support, but by doing so, they may be providing enough to save the life of a loved one or possibly that of a new friend.