Automatic External Defibrillators or AEDs are devices that give high-energy electric shocks to return a heart in cardiac arrest to its normal rhythm. The high energy shock is called defibrillation and is a vital part of saving someone’s life from cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrests can affect anyone at any time. Nearly 30,000 such incidents occur outside of the hospitals across the UK every year. Less than 10% of these experiencing cardiac arrest in the community survive. This makes cardiac arrest one of the biggest health issues in workplaces or organizations within the country. 

According to a report by American Heart Association, for the Heart and Stroke statistics 2022, cardiac arrest remains a public health crisis. There are nearly more than 356,000 the hospital cardiac arrests each year in the USA, out of which 90% of them are fatal. 

This makes the use of defibrillators important within the work environment to help save someone in need. Unfortunately, many people do not know where to locate AEDs, how to use them, and when to use them properly.

This post will explain everything one needs to know to work proficiently in case of an emergency.

What is a Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an abnormal heart rhythm that causes a person’s heart to stop pumping. This stops the blood flow and causes the person to collapse, become unresponsive, face breathing problems, or stop breathing all at once.

Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. Heart attack is caused by the blockage in a circulatory system whilst cardiac arrest occurs due to the heart’s electrical system. 

What Causes Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time or any age of life. However, it has shown to occur more frequently in people who have:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease

Some of the major reasons for cardiac arrest are:

  • Drug overdose
  • Severe hemorrhaging 
  • Hypoxia

How AEDs Work?

An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), automatically detects if someone is in a shockable rhythm and it speaks to you to tell you what to do. The AEDs administer a shock to stop the heart if it is an abnormal but shockable rhythm. It enables the heart’s rhythm to reboot and hopefully restart in sinus rhythm which is known as a normal beat.

AEDs are used with CPR to save the lives of those suffering cardiac arrest. 

How to Use Defibrillator?

Following are the simple and effective tips to use defibrillators:

Step 1

Turn the defibrillator on by pressing the start/green button and follow its instructions.

Step 2

Take off the sticky pads and attach them to the patient’s body, on both sides of the chest. 

Step 3

Once the pads have been attached, stop the CPR and do not touch the patient. The automatic external defibrillator will check the patient’s heart rhythm.

Step 4

The AED will decide whether a shock is needed and if so, it will tell you to press the shock button. The automatic external defibrillator (AED) will shock the patient without prompt. 

It is advised not to touch the patient while they are being shocked. 

Step 5

The AED will tell you that the shock has been delivered and whether you need to continue CPR or not.

Step 6

Continue with chest compression until the patient shows the signs of life or the defibrillator tells you to stop so it can analyze the heartbeat again.

When to Use a Defibrillator?

Now a lot of people do not know when they should use AED when someone is in need. One should only use an automatic external defibrillator on the person, if his/her heart suddenly stops beating or if they are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Some of the major symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest may include:

  • No breathing/gasping noises paired with abnormal breathing
  • Unresponsive
  • Unconscious 
  • No pulse

When Not to Use a Defibrillator?

Numerous circumstances require extra care when determining when and how to use automatic external defibrillators. All AEDs have their intended use statement, so, it is recommended all AED owners review their unit’s requirements.

Where Can One Find Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)?

The Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are normally located in workplaces, organizations, or public spaces. These defibrillators are also familiar with Public Access Defibrillators (PADs), as anyone can easily use them. 

If you want to access an AED in an emergency, you can call 999 emergency operators to ask someone to get it. Using a defibrillator in case of an emergency can help save someone’s life. However, there is not always an AED enough to save someone suffering cardiac arrest.

Are AED Defibrillators Safe to Use?

Yes, AEDs are safe to use and are user-friendly. The voice prompt feature tells the users, if a shock is needed or not, and will not start unless a patient needs it. However, you mustn’t touch the patient while the process is being conducted. 

AED Defibrillator Training

As discussed previously, automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are life-saving devices to help return a heart from cardiac arrest to sinus rhythm. The responsible persons within a business, workplace, or organization must make sure that they have proper arrangements for adequate defibrillator training so that responsible persons can perform completely in case of an emergency.

Is AED Training a Legal Requirement? 

No. it is not a legal requirement to provide AED training, however, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), encourages employers to provide this training to their staff to ensure they have safe workplace standards integrated within their work environment.


Automatic External Defibrillators or most commonly known as AEDs are considered to be life savers in case of emergency and are helpful to return a heart suffering cardiac arrest to its normal beat. 

But most people are unfamiliar with the right use of such devices and how and when they should use them to get the maximum results.

This post is a details explanation of everything you need to know about the safe use of AED defibrillators to get the job done safely.