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How to Use a Defibrillator

A defibrillator also known as an automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device used to deliver a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart to a person who is experiencing a cardiac arrest. In most cases of a sudden cardiac arrest, a defibrillator is required to treat cardiac dysrhythmias and ventricular fibrillation. 

AED’s are battery operated devices and are stored in locations where there are large crowds of people. You will normally see AED's stored in cabinets similar to the one in the image below:


It is not essential to have prior CPR training in order to use certain defibrillators such as those manufactured by Zoll, as they provide you with live feedback. This tool will provide visual and audio prompts while you carry out CPR. Below is a general step by step guide to applying CPR using a defibrillator.

1) Check if the Individual is unresponsive

The first step is to ensure that the person is in fact suffering a cardiac arrest. To do this, check to see if the individual unresponsive and if their airways are still blocked when you tilt the head back and lift the chin up as shown in the image below.

Cardiac arrest

Once you confirm that the victim is suffering a heart attack, call 999 and find an AED

2) Switch on the AED

Switch on the AED and apply the pads to the individuals bare chest. The AED should have a diagram of where to place that pads for males and females.

3) Let the AED Analyse the Patient's Heart 

Wait until the AED has analysed the patient’s heart beat before deciding to apply a shock.

aed shock button

4) Follow the audio and visual prompts

The defibrillator may instruct you to stop CPR in orer to analyse the victim, it will then state that "no shock required" or a "shock is required" prompt.

If a shock is required proceed to the next step.

4) Administer a Shock

If the AED indicates that a shock is required to the heart, ensure that everyone assisting the victim stays clear before the shock is administered. Press the shock button, you will then be prompted to begin 2 minutes of CPR.

5) Perform CPR 

Compress on the chest 30 times with 2 rescue breaths for 2 minutes or until the AED informs you to "Stop CPR", let the device analyse the victim. Continue this cycle until the patient starts breathing.

What not to do:

Do not use an AED on children under 8 years old unless paediatric electrode pads are used.

Do not touch the patient when applying a shock.

Do not use an defibrillator if under the influence of alchol or drugs.

Defibrillators and Training

If you are looking to purchase an AED, visit our online shop or contact our customer services on +353 74 912 7279. We also have AED training courses also available if you want to learn a valueable skill.