Defibrillator FAQ's

Q. What is a Defibrillator?
A. A Defibrillator is a device that uses electrostatic energy to re-start a fibrillating heart. When a heart is in fibrillation, a lack of electrical pulse means it ceases to work properly and therefore cannot circulate oxygen around the body. A defibrillators job is to ‘restart’ the heart by giving a burst of electric energy to the heart, reestablishing the electrical pulses and allowing the heart to beat again.

Q. What is an AED?
A. AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. They analyse the patient’s condition before giving a calculated shock to restart the heart. AEDs can be found anywhere from schools to offices, shopping centres to sports facilities.

Q. What is a PAD?
A. PAD stands for Public Access Defibrillation. These defibrillators are for public use and are usually found in areas where emergency services have difficulty reaching.

Q. How do you use an AED?
A. An AED can be used by anyone, it is fully automated and will analyse the subjects condition before administering the shock. Inside the AED you’ll find step by step instructions that show you how to set the equipment up.

Q. What is a Semi-Automatic AED?
A. A Semi-Semi-Automatic AED is just like a regular AED, it can still be used by a person with no medical training. However, it also comes with the option to override for a medical professional to override the AED’s prompts and give a shock based on their own judgement.

Q. How do you find Defibrillator locations?
A. There are a number of websites devoted to finding defibrillator locations, however they aren’t particularly useful in the event of an emergency. It is best to look for the nearest visible defibrillator to you, which can easily be seen as most use bright colours and feature the universal defibrillator symbol. (image of Defibrillator symbol) If there isn’t one in sight look for the nearest commercial building or shopping centre and ask a member of staff for the nearest AED.

Q. How does a AED work?
A. An AED works by analysing the subjects condition and calculating the right timing to shock the heart with electro-static energy to restart it. It does this using an advanced computer system inside, specially developed to be easy to use and as efficient as possible.

Q. How much does a Defibrillator cost?
A. Defibrillators vary in price. Here they start at just under £1000 and go up to £3000+.

Q. Can I get funding for a PAD?
A. Yes. It is possible to get funding for PADs. If you are looking to have one fitted in your area, visit The British Heart Foundation for more information on fund raising and how to apply.

Q. What is the cheapest defibrillator I can buy?
A. The cheapest defibrillator on Risk Assessment Products is the iPAD Saver NF1200 Semi Automatic Defibrillator. It is just £982.79 and features a semi-automatic system that does not require any training to use. It charges in just 10 seconds and delivers clear audio and visual instructions during use.

Q. Do I need special Defibrillator training to use an AED?
A. No. AEDs are specifically designed to be used by untrained members of the public. They feature guidance systems and full step by step instructions. The electro-static shock is calculated by the machine.

Q. What is the difference between a Monophasic Defibrillator and a Biphasic Defibrillator?
A. The difference between Monophasic and Biophasic defibrillators is in the waveform each type of defibrillator produces. A monophasic defibrillator produces a current from one vector, whilst the biphasic defibrillator produces the current from two vectors, hence it’s name. Most defibrillators are Biphasic but both are effective in restarting the heart.

Q. Can Defibrillators be used on children?
A. Yes. Defibrillators can be used on children from 1-8 yrs. If there are smaller pads included then use these. It is not recommended that you use a defibrillator on infants younger than 1 yrs.

Q. Can Defibrillators be used on pregnant women?
A. Yes, defibrillators can be used on pregnant women without causing harm to the child. In fact, fibrillation of the heart can be extremely dangerous for unborn children so it is important to act quickly.

Q. Can Defibrillators be used in wet weather?
A.    Yes. Defibrillators can be used in wet weather, but it is important to take precautions to ensure safe use. Try to dry the chest area that the defibrillator pads touch as much as possible and ensure you aren’t touching the subject’s body in any way.

Q. Is it better to wait for a medical professional to operate the AED?
A. No. When a person goes into cardiac arrest, it is important to help them straight away. For every minute that passes, the subjects chances of survival decrease dramatically, so you should waste no time waiting for a medical professional, although ensure you seek an ambulance too. AEDs are designed to be operated safely and effectively by untrained members of the public.

Q. What is an IP rating?
A. The IP rating of a defibrillator cabinet/safe is an indicator of how much protection from damage, dust and water the structure can provide. The rating will appear with numbers after it, the higher the number; the better protection it provides. e.g. IP66.

Q. Can I reuse defibrillator pads?
A. No, defibrillator pads should be discarded after use for hygiene purposes.

Q. How long do AED batteries last?
A. Batteries can last on stand by for around 7 years but an AED will automatically run tests and notify you if anything needs replacing. Obviously this time reduces depenant on the usage of the AED.

Q. Am I legally required to have a Defibrillator fitted to my premises?
A. It is not a legal requirement to have a defibrillator fitted to your premises, but if you have an older workforce or are situated somewhere that emergency services may have difficulty reaching then it is recommended you have one installed. Having an AED on your premises could increase the survival rate of someone suffering a cardiac arrest by 60%.

Q. How much does an AED cost to run?
A. An AED in a good cabinet/safe can cost as little as £3 to run per year e.g. the current DefibSafe 2.

All the information displayed above is widely available across the internet. For detailed information and advice we recommend you visit the British Heart Foundation or Rususcitation Council (UK) for the latest advice in CPR and Defibrillation.

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