How do I know when to use a defib? AEDs are provided for the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest. If someone is unconscious, unresponsive and NOT BREATHING NORMALLY, then assume this is a cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately and start CPR. If an AED is available, turn it on and follow the voice instructions as soon as possible.
When would I not use a defib? AEDs are provided for the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest, so should not be attached to a victim if they are not in cardiac arrest (unless directed to do so by a health professional or trained first aider).
Can it go over clothes? No. The patient’s chest/torso need to be exposed to enable the AED electrode pads to be applied directly to the skin.
Can I use it on a child? Yes
Can I use one in the rain? According to the Resuscitation Council (UK), it is usually safe to use an AED on a victim who is lying on a metallic, wet or other conductive surface. If the self-adhesive pads are applied correctly, and provided there's no direct contact between the user and the victim when the shock is delivered, there is no direct pathway that electricity can take that would cause the user to experience a shock. If the victim is wet, his/her chest should be dried so that the self-adhesive AED pads will stick properly.
What happens if I touch the patient when it’s shocking? AEDs are safe to use and present minimal risk to the rescuer. It is important not to be touching the victim when a shock is delivered as anyone touching the patient will also receive a shock. The machine will tell people to ‘stand clear’ before advising and delivering a shock.
Are all defibrillators the same? There are several AEDs on the market, but they all do essentially the same thing and have similar instructions for use: call 999, start and continue CPR, turn the machine on and follow the voice prompts.
What’s the difference between semi and fully automatic defibrillators? A semi-automatic AED prompts the rescuer to push a button if a shock is required. A fully-automatic AED automatically shocks the victim if the machine detects a shockable heart rhythm. Either are simple to use. Just follow the instructions they give you.
Do I need training to operate a Defib? No. It is the view of the Resuscitation Council (UK) that the use of AEDs should NOT be restricted to trained personnel. Furthermore, the Resuscitation Council (UK) considers that it is inappropriate to display notices to the effect that only trained personnel should use the devices, or to restrict their use in other ways. Such restrictions are against the interests of victims of cardiac arrest, and discourage the greater use of AEDs by members of the public who may be able to preserve life and assist victims of sudden cardiac arrest. This confirms similar advice from the British Heart Foundation.
Can I do any harm? Modern AEDs are very reliable and extremely unlikely to do any harm to a person who has collapsed in suspected cardiac arrest. AEDs will not give or allow a shock to be delivered to a victim unless it is needed. AEDs are safe to use and present minimal risk to the rescuer.
What’s the legal status of rescuers? The Courts have always looked benevolently upon those who have gone to the assistance of others. The Resuscitation Council (UK) have published a detailed document on CPR, AEDs and the Law which can be found here https://www.resus.org.uk/cpr/cpr-aeds-and-the-law/
What happens if the cabinet is locked? Ideally AEDs will be in unlocked cabinets, but where the cabinet is locked, call 999 and give the location of the AED (there may be a reference number on the cabinet) and the ambulance service will tell you the code to unlock the cabinet.
Why should I have an unlocked machine - what about theft? Ideally AEDs should be available in unlocked cabinets. This is recommended by the Community Resuscitation Steering Group for England (led by the Resuscitation Council (UK) and British Heart Foundation), whose advice can be found here https://www.resus.org.uk/defibrillators/cabinets-for-public-access-defibrillators/ The Aston Defibrillator Fund fully supports the provision of AEDs in unlocked cabinets in our community. Seconds count in cardiac arrest, and time spent trying to obtain a code to unlock a cabinet will delay the AED being available to help treat the patient in cardiac arrest.
How do I know where to find one? We expect to publish an updated map of all defibrillators in Farnham and the immediate surrounding area very soon. Please check back here to see the results. In the meantime, become a 'defib spotter' and look out for the bright yellow or green cabinets.
How much do they cost? Defibrillators vary in price - but an iPad SP1 automatic, or semi automatic, is available from a local supplier, WEL Medical, for £825 +VAT. (Valid for Calendar 2019) Full pricing and options are on our pricing page, just click here
Where can I get training? In Farnham we are delighted to say that Heartstart Farnham Lions is a community training group, affiliated to the British Heart Foundation, offering a 2.5 hour evening course every two weeks free of charge to anyone wanting to learn simple skills that save lives, focussed on the recognition of a problem, CPR and the use of a defibrillator. Contact them at www.heartstartfarnhamlions.co.uk
How can I get involved with ADF and help? Please download the support form here and complete - whatever you can offer we would really appreciate your support of this community project. ADF_Support_Form.pdf