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Automated External Defibrillators: What you need to know

Earlier this year while raising money for the Bushfire Appeal, Yellow Wiggle Greg Page suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. It is due to the quick thinking of Page’s bandmates, an off duty nurse and a Public Access Defibrillator that Page is still here today.

Each year in Australia 30,000 people die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a life-saving device that restores the normal rhythm to a heart that has suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike anyone, anytime, without warning. A victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest collapses immediately, with their heart unable to pump blood through their body. For every minute CPR and a defibrillator are not used there is 10% less chance of survival.

What is the difference between an AED and CPR?

Both CPR and using an AED are crucial in the few minutes following a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Effectively administering CPR after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest can increase the chance of survival to 85%. An AED delivers a therapeutic shock to the victim’s heart allowing the normal rhythm to be restored to the heart.

Public Access Defibrillators are equipped to monitor CPR effectiveness in real-time using data from End-Tidal CO2, Cardiac Output, Carotid Flow and Impedance Cardiogram. The device then advises the rescuer to push harder or push faster, or that you are doing good compressions. A Public Access Defibrillator also works in real-time and is specific to the victim, so is able to advise the correct compressions for a big victim, just as it would for a small victim.

Do I need training to use an AED?

It is recommended that everybody complete Provide First Aid training or at the very least CPR training, with the European Resuscitation Council recommending two hours of CPR training annually in schools worldwide for children 12 years and above.

There is no training or experience required to use a Public Access Defibrillator, as these are equipped with an advanced CPR advisor. When using a Public Access Defibrillator the device will first prompt you to call an ambulance, the emergency medical call taker can then talk you through the process and even assist you with using the AED if need be.

The CPR advisor on a Public Access Defibrillator is a crucial piece of technology as 70% of all CPR is inadequately performed.

Can I be sued for using an AED?

In Australia, the Good Samaritan Act is enabled which offers legal protection to a person who assists in a medical emergency. You cannot be sued for appropriately using an AED.

The Good Samaritan Act was bought in to encourage people to use an AED to save a life in an emergency without fear of legal repercussions.

A Public Access Defibrillator will not administer a shock unless there is a shockable rhythm present, by simply following the voice prompts of a Public Access Defibrillator you can save a life.

Does my workplace need a Public Access Defibrillator?

A Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) should be located wherever people congregate or in any remote location where there are very few people. A Public Access Defibrillator is specifically designed with visual and voice prompts so that any member of the public with minimal or no training can effectively save a life.

Airports, Gyms, Stadiums, Shopping Centres, Places of Worship, Yachts, Farms, and Business are just an example of some of the places Public Access Defibrillators should be located.

It is crucial to have a Public Access Defibrillator nearby as if an Ambulance takes more than 2 minutes to arrive on the scene it may be too late. When a person suffers a Sudden Cardiac Arrest irreversible damage starts within 3 to 5 minutes after circulation stops and after 10 minutes without circulation it is too late and it’s all over.