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AED easy as ABC

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Most quality CPR ( cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training usually involves the training of the AED (automated external defibrillator) machine to compliment the chest compression training. Do not let the looks of the AED device discourage you from wanting to learn how to operate it or worse, never use it if it's available.

Here are some misconceptions or rumors about the device that simply aren't true that may enlighten what you already know about the AED:

  • The AED can shock a CPR victim that has died and bring them back to life. FALSE. The AED will not advise you to shock any victim that does not already have some existing heart rhythm. The AED machine simply gives shocks to an existing irregular heart rhythm and tries to stabilize a normal heat rhythm, not shock the heart muscle back to life.
  • The AED is used only after several attempts to resuscitate the victim . FALSE. The AED is to be used as soon as a unit can be brought to the scene . CPR should have already been started with the victim and someone should have already been told to call 911 and locate an AED device. The AED is used as soon as the device arrives on the scene.

There are some important things to remember when using the AED that are taught in AED training that we must always remember to make sure we are performing the application of the AED device to it's best use.

  1. Simply remember as the very first step to just "Turn It On" and ignore the shock button or anything else you may see. Turning it on will start the process and the recorded voice will let you know what step and action to take next.
  2. Always make sure to remove the adhesive backing of the pads before placing the pads onto the victim's chest.
  3. Dry the chest of the victim with a dry gauze to remove any moisture from the chest to give the pads better conduction .
  4. Make sure to announce everyone to stand clear from the victim's body as the AED device attempts to read the heart's rhythm
  5. Placement of the pads onto the chest area is very important. Many devices will show images of where to place the pads onto the chest even if you have forgotten pad placement in your CPR training.

It's as easy as ABC to operate an AED. Just remember to A, always turn it on first, B, be sure to apply it at the first opportunity when it arrives on the scene and C, continue chest compression until the AED device is ready to read the victim's heart rhythm.

Happy heartbeats friend,

Doug McGehee

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