AED Frequently Asked Questions

AED Frequently Asked Questions

October 27, 2022

When sudden cardiac arrest strikes, the quicker an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is used, the higher the chances are of survival. Statistically, when an AED is used within one minute, chances of survival are 90%. Each minute after, decreases the chances of survival by 10%. It is safe to say, AEDS should be everywhere!
According to the American Heart Association, 50% of offices do NOT have an AED and 51% of employees do not know where the AED is in their workplace. These are scary statistics considering 10,000 cardiac arrests occur per year in the workplace.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about AEDs that everyone should know!  

What if I shock someone who doesn’t need to be shocked. Can I hurt them?

An AED will tell you if you need to deliver a shock. A person in cardiac arrest will NOT survive without being shocked by an AED quickly.  You cannot shock someone with an AED unless they need to be shocked. When you place the pads on their chest, the pads will analyze the heart rhythm and determine if a shock is advised or not. If no shock is advised, the AED will not allow you to deliver a shock.

Do I need to be a medical professional to use an AED?

No. Anyone can use an AED! The most important thing to remember is to turn the power on. Once the AED is on, it will talk to you and give you step-by-step instructions on what to do. The Defibtech Lifeline VIEW will not only talk to you, but it will also show you what to do with a video in full-motion color.  Remember, turn the AED on and you will be ready to help save a life!

I am providing CPR, so I don’t need to use an AED, right?

Wrong! CPR is very important and immediate CPR can help save a life, but it isn’t the final piece to the puzzle. CPR buys time and can help circulate blood throughout the body, but someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest needs an electrical shock from an AED to survive. The quicker this shock is administered, the greater the chances of survival.

We bought an AED for our office a few years ago. It has never been used. Are we ready for a cardiac emergency?

No! Just having an AED is not enough. It is crucial that the AED batteries and pads are always up to date and that your AED is ready to save a life. Check out DefibtechMD, our program management system that is designed to help customers maintain an effective AED program.

We have one AED in our office building, but it’s on the third floor. Is that good enough?

No. It is crucial to have more than one AED in large buildings or spaces. The best way to measure if an AED is accessible is if it can be used on a person within 3 minutes from any location in the building or space. The AED should NOT be locked in an office or a cabinet and should be easily accessible at all times!

Steps To Use An AED

So, how do you use an AED? Actually, it is really simple. The following steps will walk you through exactly what to do when you need to use an AED to help save a life.
If a person is unresponsive, unconscious, and not breathing normally, they need an AED. Use the AED is soon as it arrives. The quicker it is used, the higher the chances of survival.

Step 1: Turn on the AED 

Power on the AED. Our Lifeline AEDs have a very clear, green “on” button. Once you press the button, the machine will start talking to you. It will first tell you to “call for help.” If you have not called 9-1-1 yet, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Step 2: Remove the AED pads

Next, the AED will tell you to “remove pads from package in back of unit.” Defibtech AEDs make the pads easy to find! Just turn the machine around and you will see the pads pack in the back of the unit.

Step 3: Place the AED pads

The AED will now tell you to “apply pads to patient’s bare chest as shown.” It is important that the patient’s chest is completely bare. The pads cannot be placed over any type of clothing. The pads have pictures on them. When you tear open the pads package you will see one picture showing a pad on the right side of the patient’s chest underneath the collar bone. The other picture will show a pad being placed on the person’s left side, under the armpit. Place the pads firmly as they are shown in the pictures.

Step 4: Wait for AED device instructions

Once the pads are placed correctly, the machine will say, “analyzing heart rhythm, do not touch the patient.” It is important to make sure no one is touching the patient at this time. Look up and down the body. Loudly state, “Stand clear.” If the machine determines a shock is needed, it will say, “Shock Advised. Charging. Stand Clear.” Again, look up and down the body. Loudly state, “Stand clear.”

Step 5: Deliver the shock

Once the machine has finished charging, it will say, “Press flashing shock button.” Defibtech AEDs have a bright shock button found on the front of the unit. Press this button when it is flashing and the AED tells you to.

Step 6: Perform CPR

Once you deliver the first shock, the machine will say, “Shock one delivered. It is safe to touch the patient. Begin CPR now.” You can now provide CPR to the person. NEVER remove the pads. Perform CPR with the pads still on the body. You will hear a metronome that will give you the perfect beat to provide chest compressions. The AED will allow you to provide CPR for two minutes. After two minutes that machine will re-analyze and determine if a second shock is needed. This process will continue until EMS arrives.

Other Common AED Scenarios 

Every situation is different. If the AED is used very quickly, one shock might bring the person back to being responsive and breathing. If this happens, you do not need to provide CPR, but you need to monitor the person until EMS arrives. The person might go back into cardiac arrest again, if this happens, start CPR immediately.
Other situations might require multiple rounds of CPR, multiple shocks from the AED, and medication administered by EMS to bring the person back.
Now you know the basic steps to using an AED. Remember, the most important step is to turn the machine on and listen to the step-by-step instructions it will give to you.
To learn more about Defibtech, and to join us on our quest to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest, visit