As of 25th July 2023, the government have supplied all state-funded schools with a defibrillator. More than 20,000 machines have been delivered following a campaign by Oliver King’s parents, a student that sadly lost his life when his heart stopped beating in a swimming lesson.
The use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can help increase the chances of survival for someone who has experienced a cardiac arrest, which is where the heart stops beating.
The AED can analyse the heart rhythm when attached to the casualty and will provide a shock if and when required.
Everyone can use an AED, they are specifically designed for non-medical users. The machine decides if a shock is needed, therefore taking the responsibility from the user.
How to use an AED
- First ask a helper to call 999/112 or if alone use your phone’s loudspeaker.
- If an automated external defibrillator is available – switch it on and follow the instructions, it will tell you exactly what to do.
- If you have help, that person should continue CPR while you prepare the AED.
- You may need to dry the chest area if it is wet or in the case of an adult shave the chest hair. This is to ensure that the pads stick properly. Don’t waste too much time doing this and if a razor isn’t available just continue with attaching the pads.
- The pads will have a picture on them to indicate where to place them. One pad below the casualty’s right collar bone, the other on their left side under their ribs.
- The defibrillator will analyse the heart rhythm and will tell you whether a shock is required or not. Stand clear if a shock is advised, no-one should be touching the casualty. Press the shock button when prompted (a fully automatic machine will do this for you).
- Following a shock (or no shock if advised) the defibrillator will ask you continue with CPR. Keep following the instructions given until professional help arrives.
Time is Key
It is important that an AED is used as quickly as possible. Each minute of delay will affect the chances of survival.
AEDs can be used without any training, however if you want to try out a training device to gain confidence, every WorkSafe first aid course includes training on AED machines.