Monday, August 18, 2008

AED - I didn't realize they were so simple

Recently my office installed a bunch of AEDs. (Automated External Defibrillator)

I've seen these around more and more at restaurants, airports, just about everywhere. But I always thought they were complicated things that required a lot of training. Our safety division started offering classes in CPR and AED use. I hoped I would never need the knowledge, but I figured I'd brush up on my CPR skills, as it has been a few years since I was last certified.

The course started with about 2 hours of CPR lessons. We had to relearn the sequence... now it's 30 compresses and 2 breaths. If we don't have a face mask, and don't know the person well, they say we don't even need to do the breaths, just keep pressing on the chest.

After that was completed, we started the AED training. To start us off, he had two people "walk in" and find a body on the ground. One started CPR, the other got the AED. That person, like me, never really saw or used an AED before. And he did the same thing I would have. He pulled out the manual. The instructor stopped everything and suggested they try again, this time, when they get the AED, the instructor said to just press the "Start" button. Turns out the AED talks to you and walks you through the entire process. When to hook up the pads (and the pads have diagrams to show exactly where they go), when to stop all contact with the person, when to press the button to shock (assuming all are clear), when to resume CPR, etc.

The AED doesn't do everything, you still need to pump the heart and breathe into the person, but now I know you don't need a lot of training or medical knowledge to use an AED. And I also know now that it doesn't replace CPR, but rather, supplements it. And according to our instructor, it increases the odds of survival from about 7% to around 95%!! Wow, I like those odds much better!!

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