An AED is a fully automated, easy-to-use, medical device that is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, a medical condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. It analyses the heart’s rhythm and, only if necessary, delivers an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. Research has shown that deploying a defibrillator within 3–5 minutes of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 50–70%.
The AED can only be accessed by dialling 999 in an emergency. When needed, you will be directed by the operator to the nearest AED (e.g. the Village Hall) and provided with the code to open the cabinet, remove the AED within and transport it to the patient. The AED is small, light, battery powered and contained within a special carry case making it very easy to transport. When turned on, the AED gives simple voice instructions (along with diagrams printed on the device) on how to remove the pads, attach them to the patient and provide treatment until an ambulance arrives. The 999 operator will also provide guidance and instructions, and the AED case includes additional items that may assist with its use.