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An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable device used to give the heart an electric shock when someone is in cardiac arrest

 (their heart has stopped), by allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. 

An AED can be used on adults and children over the age of one year.


If you witness a cardiac arrest it is important that you shout for help immediately, as CPR can save a person’s life.


If it possible to use an AED before the ambulance arrives, it could double the casualty’s chance of survival. Luckily, AED’s are now frequently located in public areas such as shopping centres, airports, train stations and schools, meaning that they are more accessible than ever before.

Basic Rules for using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED):

  • When the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) arrives, stop Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

  • Once the AED arrives turn it on.

  • Follow the voice prompts.

  • Remove clothing from the casualties’ chest.

  • Following the voice prompts, place the pads where shown on the AED unit.

  • You will be instructed by the voice prompt not to touch the patient while the AED analyses the casualties’ condition.

  • If required, the AED will instruct you to press the shock button or to continue CPR with no shock delivered.

  • The AED unit will instruct you to stop CPR every two minutes at which point the unit will reassess the casualties’ condition.

  • Recommence CPR if the AED voice prompt instructs you to do so.

  • If the unit has delivered a shock and the heart is restarted, and the casualty starts to breath, leave the pads on and continue to monitor the casualties’ condition.

  • Continue to follow the AED unit prompts until the emergency services arrive.

If there is not an AED available then as well as calling 999 you should carry out basic CPR until the ambulance arrives to take over. You can find out how to perform basic CPR here.








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