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 cleverly analyse a patients heart rhythm before deciding whether to administer a calculated shock to re-start the heart. They are often found in many public places such as schools, offices, shopping centres and sports clubs and are designed for use by anyone so that whoever may be nearby can deliver lifesaving care as they are so easy and straightforward to use.

Q. What is a PAD?
A. Public Access Defibrillation, PAD, are defibrillators that are place in public areas, for public use and are often found in areas that are hard to reach by emergency services. Having a defibrillator in a remote area can help save precious seconds when delivering emergency care, saving more lives every year.

Q. How do you use an AED?
A. AEDs are designed for use by anyone, with clear written and verbal instructions, AEDs are cleverly manufactured to walk anyone step by step through the process of delivering emergency care. Many defibrillators have impressive features such as increasing the volume by monitoring background noise and giving prompts when someone is delivering the correct care. Inside AEDs you will find step by step instructions which show how to set the equipment up and with AEDs being automatic, they will also administer the shock for you.

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 and works in the same way as an automatic defibrillator. However, it gives you control over when a shock is delivered. Allowing medical professionals to deliver a shock based on their judgement, semi-automatic AEDs means that you are in control of delivering a shock.

Q. How do you find Defibrillator locations?
A. There are a number of ways to find out if there is a defibrillator located near you in your area, giving peace of mind should an emergency ever occur. There are a variety of websites devoted to finding defibrillator locations however, in the event of an emergency this isn’t always quickest way to locate one. Our advice is to look for the nearest visible defibrillator to you be it where you live, work or visit often - they can be seen easily with their bright colours and the universal defibrillator symbol. If there isn’t one nearby, it is always a good idea to check out local commercial building such as shopping centres and to ask a member of staff where they may have one located.

Q. How does an 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. AEDs automatically administer a shock taking the pressure off someone delivering emergency care, as they cleverly detect if a shock needs administering, they simply give a warning sign and then shock the patient.

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 £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. As one of the most user friendly defibrillators on the market, it is a great option to have placed in work and sports environments as anyone who may be nearby can quickly and effectively deliver life saving care thanks to the easy steps and simple operation that it offers.

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 with many AEDs offering visual and verbal assistance such as prompting you when you are delivering effective care and lighting images up on the AED when the next step is ready to be performed. AEDs also calculate their own electro-static shock and determine when a shock needs to be delivered, taking the pressure away from the person delivering medical care.

Q. What is the difference between a Monophasic Defibrillator and a Biphasic Defibrillator?
A. Monophasic and Biphasic defibrillators are both effective in re-starting a heart and delivering emergency medical care. A monophasic defibrillator delivers current from one vector, whilst a biphasic defibrillator delivers the current from two directions, hence their names. Most defibrillators are Biphasic as they deliver equal wavelengths on both sides but, both are extremely effective.

Q. What are the dangers of a defibrillator?
A. There are very little dangers involved when using a defibrillator as they only deliver a shock when one is needed. Working to stop the hearts irregular rhythm and return it to it’s normal pace means that they save lives and the chances of harm being caused is very low.

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 you use a defibrillator on a conscious person?
A. A defibrillator should be used when CPR is performed however, it will not deliver a shock unless it needs to. If a person does not appear to be breathing for example but, their heart is still beating, a defibrillator will never administer a shock.

Q. Can Defibrillators be used in wet weather?
A. Defibrillators can be used outside in wet and adverse weather conditions with many of them having an additional external layer to protect against bad weather. It is however, important to follow precautionary steps to ensure safe use such as drying the check area that the defibrillator pads will be used on and to ensure that you are not touching the subject’s body in any way.

Q. Is it better to wait for a medical professional to operate the AED?
A. When a person is suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the most important factor is that you deliver emergency care as soon as possible. Waiting for medical professionals to arrive can waste important life saving seconds and could cost a life. Every minute that passes reduces the survival rate drastically when a patient is suffering from a SCA so you should never waste anytime. You should always call for an ambulance in the event of an emergency but you must always act quickly when someone falls ill due to a SCA - there isn’t any time to waste. AEDs are designed for use by anyone and can be used safely and effectively by untrained members of the puplic until the emergency services arrive.

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. For hygiene purposes, defibrillator pads should not be reused and should be thrown away after use.

Q. How long do AED batteries last?
A. AED batteries have a very impressive life span and can last on standby for an impressive average of seven years. AEDs automatically run self tests and notify you if anything needs replacing - obviously the time reduces dependant on the usage of the AED.

Q. Am I legally required to have a Defibrillator fitted to my premises?
A. Having a defibrillator fitted in your premises is not a legal requirement however, it is is recommended. With an estimated 12,000 people suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest in public places ever year, many of these occur in the workplace. Having one installed in your work environment could increase the survival rate of someone suffering a cardiac arrest by 60%.

Q. How much does an AED cost to run?
A. AEDs are very cost effective to run with an AED in a good cabinet and safe location can cost as little as £3 to run per year (judging on the DefibSafe2). With defibrillators costing so little to run and being so effective in the event of an emergency they are a great piece of medical equipment to have should an emergency ever occur.

Q. Who can use an AED?
A. Anyone can use an AED, they are designed to be used by trained medical professionals and novices alike. When an emergency occurs, AED’s need to be used straight away without waiting for professional help which is why they are designed with the user in mind, often with instructions and a step by step guide so that anyone can deliver care.

Q. Why is a defibrillator important?
A. Defibrillators are so important as they are a huge life saving medical tool that can make the difference between life and death. When defibrillators are administered on a victim, they assess the heart to determine if a shock needs to be delivered or not. Offering a step by step guide and instructions throughout the process, defibrillators are also very user friendly meaning they can be used by anyone in the event of any emergency.

It is important to remember that if a victim collapses, you must always call 999 first and then start delivering care in order for the emergency services to arrive as soon as possible. A combination of CPR and defibrillation however, can save precious seconds.

Q. What are the chances of survival when using a defibrillator?
A. Chances of survival drastically increase when using a defibrillator. With many sudden cardiac arrests (SCA’s) occurring out of hospitals, in public environments such as at work, at the shops, at sports grounds or at home, defibrillators are an essential medical tool that can make the difference between life and death.

If a defibrillator is administered within the first five minutes of collapse, the survival chances can be as high as 90% however, with every minute that passes without defibrillation, survival rates can reduce by 7 to 10%.

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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Having a defibrillator in a remote area can help save precious seconds when delivering emergency care, saving more lives every year.