What is an AED?

An AED (automated external defibrillator) is an emergency life-saving device that can be used by anyone to help restart the heart when sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes.

The device is fully portable and gives the heart an electrical charge to establish a regular heartbeat.

The AED will only shock when necessary.





How it works

1. When turned on, the AED will instruct the user to connect the pads to the person’s bare chest. All clothing should be removed, including undergarments (especially underwired bras) because these can interfere with the electrical signal. The pads allow the AED to examine their heart and determine if they require a shock.

2. If the device determines a shock is required, it will charge up in preparation to deliver a shock. The AED is completely safe as it will only deliver a charge when it determines a shockable rhythm is present.

3. When charged, the device instructs the person to ensure no one is touching the victim and then to press a button to deliver the shock.

4. In the case of a fully automatic AED the unit will advise the user that it will deliver the shock without further intervention.

5. When the shock is delivered, the device will instruct the user to begin CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) for a period, after which it will analyse the heart rhythm once again, advising whether a further shock or more CPR is needed.

Watch this video and see how easy AEDs are to use:

Why is it needed?

A person who suffers sudden cardiac arrest will only be in a ‘shockable rhythm’ for the first few minutes; so immediate defibrillation is vital.

CPR alone only saves 9% of people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

CPR and an AED used together increases chances of survival five-fold.

Which AED?

There are many makes and models of AEDs available. Please contact us to discuss the various options.





Why are cabinets important?

We encourage you to house your defibrillator in a cabinet to ensure it is weather-proof and secure. It is protected with a pin code, which is provided by the emergency services when you dial 999. The cabinet also ensures the AED is visible in public places.




How to check an AED

If you are the guardian of your local AED, it is so important to know how to check it properly. Please click here to view a video from HeartSafe which shows you how to complete your checks thoroughly and easily.


Public Access

Many organisations and sports clubs already have an AED, which is safely tucked away to be used in the event of an emergency.

But what use do these AEDs have if they are out of sight or locked away out of working hours?

We place public-access defibrillators through our campaign: life-saving devices available to everyone in the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

A Defibs Save Lives defibrillator is placed in a waterproof, secure cabinet (pictured on the left) and placed anywhere people gather. The cabinet is protected with a pin code. This code is provided by a member of the emergency services as soon as a call to 999 is made and the location of the public-access defibrillator provided. These defibrillators are logged on the national database: AED Locator.


Get in touch for more help and information

+44 (0) 1789 867 501info@heartrhythmalliance.org


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