How to Use a Public AED During the Holiday Season

How to Use a Public AED During the Holiday Season

How to Use a Public AED During the Holiday Season

Most people don’t want to think about medical emergencies. This is understandable, especially during the holiday season. However, due to excess food and holiday stressors, some people might be more vulnerable to a medical emergency. Learning about public AEDs could help you save a life one day, though we hope you’ll never have to use this knowledge.

So, just what is an AED? For the purposes of the post, we’re going to take information directly from a helpful guide by the American Heart Association. According to them, an “automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.” They further explain that this shock can “potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest.”

Why Are Public AEDs Important?

Public AEDs allow more people to respond to a medical emergency that requires defibrillation. Since AEDs are portable devices, they can be used by nonmedical personnel. Additionally, they can be added to emergency response programs that also “include rapid use of 9-1-1 and prompt delivery of cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). All three of these activities are vital to improving survival from sudden cardiac arrest.”

How Do You Use an AED?

In our opinion, AEDs are amazing devices. They essentially contain a built-in computer that checks a person’s heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes. This internal computer determines whether defibrillation is needed or not. In situations where it is needed, a recorded voice will prompt the rescuer to press a shock button located on the AED.

This shock will briefly stun the heart and cause all activity to cease. Doing so will give the heart a moment to resume beating effectively. According to the American Heart Association, audible prompts will continue to assist the user through this process. It should be noted that AEDs only advise a shock for “ventricular fibrillation or another life-threatening condition called pulseless ventricular tachycardia.”

Who Can Use an AED?

As stated by the American Heart Association, “non-medical personnel such as police, fire service personnel, flight attendants, security guards and other lay rescuers who have been trained in CPR can use AEDs.” However, formal training is not required to use an AED, and they are “intended for use by the general public.” It’s important to remember that most AEDs provide audible voice prompts to assist the user.

Now, you may be wondering about the safety of AEDs. The American Heart Association has relayed that they’re safe for anyone to use. In fact, the American Heart Association, or AHA, has even said the following about AEDs: “Some studies have shown that 90 percent of the time AEDs are able to detect a rhythm that should be defibrillated. This data suggests that AEDs are highly effective in detecting when (or when not) to deliver a shock.”

Where Should AEDs Be Placed?

+ First-response vehicles, including ambulances, law enforcement vehicles, and some fire engines.

+ Public areas such as sports venues, shopping malls, airports, airplanes, businesses, convention centers, hotels, schools, and doctors’ offices.

+ Public or private places where a large number of people may gather or where people at high risk for heart attacks may live.

+ Near elevators, cafeterias, main reception areas, and on walls in major corridors.

If you’d like to receive formal training, the American Heart Association offers both CPR and AED training. To locate one of their training centers, call the nearest AHA office or 1-888-AHA-4CPR (you can also reach their website here).

A Brief Overview of Unitek EMT

If you’re not familiar with us, Unitek EMT strives to prepare aspiring Emergency Medical Technicians by providing them with an accelerated EMT program. Seasoned professionals educate our students through a combination of traditional lectures, applied training, and workshop-style classes.

In addition, we offer a program with several variations to better accommodate our students. These include a 14-Day Boot Camp1 at our Fremont Campus in Northern California, and a modified version of the Boot Camp at our facility in Chandler, Arizona.

If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-790-1458!




1 Our 14-Day EMT Program in AZ and the 14-Day on-ground portion of the EMT Program in CA are taught in an intensive “boot camp” style, to simulate the fast pace of work expected on the job as an EMT. The California EMT Program also includes online instructional hours.

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