What is an AED and what is it used for?
October 02, 2023 By Genevieve Laclef

Last Updated Wednesday, March 01, 2023 8:58PM UTC

The facts you NEED to know now.

What if your co-worker suddenly went into cardiac arrest? Would you know what to do and what tools to use? An AED could save their life before the paramedics arrive on scene.

So, what exactly is an AED? AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. It is a portable and lightweight device that delivers a shock to restart the heart and restore its natural rhythm. ONLY an AED can restart a heart, CPR cannot. The machine will not administer a shock if it is not needed. AEDs detect if someone needs a shock by checking the heart’s rhythm before shocking. An AED is used in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest and the minutes following one are crucial. AEDs are incredibly effective when used alongside the steps below.

The 3 steps to follow if someone experiences a cardiac arrest are:

  1. Call 911 immediately
  2. Start performing CPR to keep blood flowing
  3. Use AED as soon as one is located
     

Anyone can use an AED. You do not have to be a medical professional to use one. AEDs are meant to be used by the public before the professionals arrive. They are safe to use and can be found onsite in most public spaces. AED devices even have voice prompts that guide you through the entire process while you use them. Helping someone in distress is truly made simple by these smart little machines. Their look can vary but they all work the same. Watch this helpful video to see how simple they are to use:

35,000 cardiac arrests happen each year in Canada. Every second counts. The use of an AED can mean the difference between life or death. Getting trained will teach you how to use an AED properly and effectively. St. John Ambulance offers first aid training that includes showing you how to do CPR and use an AED. It’s easy to learn and can save a life! Click here to view our course options and sign-up today.