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An AED is placed in a red box for emergencies right on a red wall beside a mounted telephone
An AED is always available for those in need.

Any season can be a safer one with the right gear. Depending on your family’s health and the facilities around you, emergency equipment and supplies are readily available in public areas. Equipment like fire hoses and hydrants, first aid kits, and AEDs should always be available. 

An AED is one of the most underutilised but potentially life-saving tools in anyone’s arsenal. In this article, we will focus on how AEDs are essential, how they work, and which ones are the best. Let’s begin with defining AEDs.

What Is an AED?

An AED is being taken from the inside of an emergency vehicle by a first responder wearing a dark blue uniform
AEDs are readily available for any ay person and medical professional alike

An AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. This medical device is for resuscitating patients who are experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. When used correctly, it gives an electric shock to the heart. In turn, the machine urges the heart to normalise its rhythm.

An AED can either be semi-automated or fully automated. They are specifically for emergency purposes, hence their portable and safe-to-use design. In general, there are two types of AEDs: 

  • Public Access AEDs – These AEDs are placed in public places such as schools, community centres, airports, sports fields/arenas, and the like. Regular people with minimal training can use them, especially during emergencies. 
  • Professional Use AEDs – These AEDs are found in emergency vehicles such as ambulances in particular. They are made to be used by paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). These healthcare professionals are given additional training for their use.

When Do You Need an AED?

In a green box mounted on a tiled pillar, an AED is ready in a public place
In very extreme cases, having an AED around can mean the difference between life and death.

People should know that any public place has an AED ready when an emergency arises. There are also some cases when an AED is needed at home. 

Individuals with predisposed conditions like severe heart disease are more at risk for acute cardiac arrest/s. If you are considering getting one for your home, contact your local medical professional for more guidance. 

Who Can Use an AED?

In a yellow box on a grey brick wall for better visibility, an AED is ready
It’s easy to use an AED, whether you’re a professional or not.

AEDs are made to be used by the general populace. Since they are easy to use, anybody can learn how to use them. 

Medical and non-medical personnel like nurses, flight attendants, firefighters and police officers are trained to use AEDs. Anybody who has undergone CPR training or is CPR certified can also use these medical devices. 

How to Properly Use an AED?

An AED is placed right beside a dummy for CPR training and practice
Training for AED use is a breeze with CPR certifications

A typical AED shows you how it works through text, lights, and voice prompts. Most AEDs come with two sets of pads: adult and child pads. The rule of thumb is that the adult pads are for patients eight (8) years and above. The procedure for using an AED in an emergency is as follows:

1. Check for a Pulse and Breathing

A sure sign that someone needs medical attention is when a person collapses or faints. Before anything else, look for their pulse on either their wrist or below the side of their chin. Do not forget to check if the patient is breathing properly through the nose.

2. Call for Help

If you can find a pulse or it appears they are not breathing, immediately call emergency services. Call them yourself if you are alone. Ask somebody else to contact for help if anybody is present so you or another person can prep the AED.

3. Get the AED Ready

Turn on the AED. Once on, the device gives you instructions one step at a time. It even shows you how to check for pulse and breathing. The AED then proceeds to instruct you to remove any clothing covering the chest area. Then, how and where to place each pad on the chest.

4. Stand Clear

Depending on the structure of the AED, you might need to plug in the pad connector cable to the device. The device is ready to analyse the person’s heart rhythm. Make sure that nobody is in contact with the patient when the pads are on them. Shout “Clear!” out loud right before delivering the shock.

5. Deliver the Shock

The available AED can either be fully automated (administers the shock itself) or semi-automated (asks you to deliver the shock). Once the AED determines the patient needs a shock, it will deliver it or ask you to push a button.

6. Begin CPR

CPR is required following a shock from an AED. Even if the machine says that a shock is not needed, CPR should still be administered. The AED will also guide you through the entire CPR procedure step by step. CPR can be done multiple times or until emergency personnel arrive.

Choosing the Right AED: What Are the Best Ones for You and Your Needs?

There are a lot of AEDs available on the market. It might get jarring, wanting to know which ones are the best for their features and the price. Luckily, we have you covered. Our team has gathered our top AEDs to help you decide which one is the best for you.

AED Plus by ZOLL

The AED Plus by ZOLL is one of the best for its Real CPR Help technology. This innovative system gives the user real-time feedback on the quality of the rate and depth of the given chest compressions. It also features the one-piece CPR-D-padz® electrode, making pad application more straightforward and accurate.

Heart Guardian AED (Radian HR-501)

If you want more value for your money, you cannot go wrong with the Heart Guardian Semi-automated External Defibrillator. This budget-friendly AED provides audio guidance, LED indicators, and easy-to-use settings for child and adult patients. It also offers ECG analysis in only 8.5 seconds and a 97.8% accuracy on irregular cardiac wave detection.

Heart Plus AED

As for safety, the Heart Plus AED should be your number one pick. This machine uses its precise ECG readings. It can fully predict whether the patient needs a shock or not. It will only produce a shock if the electrodes are on properly. Its operating systems are even designed to prevent power failure and device malfunctions. This feature is crucial in any emergency.

Mediana HeartOn A15

Much like the Heart Guardian AED, the Mediana HeartOn A15 can switch modes to accommodate both child and adult patients. You do not need a special key or electrode pad. This AED will automatically turn on once the hinged protective cover is removed. This feature will make sure you are up and ready in no time.

Philips HeartStart FR2+ Defibrillator 

The cool thing about the Philips HeartStart FR2+ AED is its Smart CPR and Quick Shock feature. Smart CPR determines what you should do (shock or CPR first) based on the patient’s vitals. This little device also utilises a Quick Shock feature, reducing the time between shock delivery and CPR.

Philips HeartStart HS1

Another AED you should be looking for is from the same brand, the Philips HeartStart HS1. This device also utilises a variation of the brand’s tech with the Smart Analysis system. Along with a long battery life and automatic self-tests, it’s a reliable option for any layperson and medical professional. 

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