The thought of using an AED can be overwhelming, but we want everyone to feel empowered to save a life. Here are a few frequently asked questions we hear about AEDs.

What does AED stand for?

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. An AED is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and if necessary, delivers an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish its effective rhythm.


Will it shock me if I touch it?

No. AEDs are very safe and will only deliver a shock once the heart has been analyzed and it is determined that a shock is needed.


How do I know if my AED is ready or not?

All AEDs have an indicator, although some look different. This could be either in the form of a green light or green checkmark. If the AED is ready, the green light or check will show or flash. If the AED is not ready, red or an X will show. You can also pair your AED with ScoutRMS to ensure that your AED is always ready!


Will the AED tell me what to do after the shock? 

Yes, the AED will advise if more shocks are needed or if you should resume CPR. Keep the AED pads on the patient until EMS arrives.


How many times will it shock?

The AED will analyze the heart rhythm and shock as many times as needed. Keep the pads on the patient and the AED will instruct you.


But the cabinet says, “Trained Responders Only.” Can I use this AED?

Yes! While we recommend everyone get CPR/AED trained, these stickers create a barrier for use. AEDs are safe and effective for anyone to use. Once powered on, the voice prompts on the AED will instruct you on what to do. Don’t let anything stop you from acting when an emergency occurs.


What if the cabinet says it is alarmed?

If the cabinet is alarmed, it is a localized alarm to make a sound that the door has been opened. This will alert that an emergency is happening, which means help may arrive faster. No barrier should prevent a bystander from using an AED, if someone is having a cardiac arrest, grab the AED, alarm or not.


What if the person is not experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest? I don’t want to make a mistake.

It is nearly impossible to make a mistake using an AED. The AED analyzes the heart rhythm first and it will not shock if a shock is not needed, therefore if a person is not in Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the AED will not shock. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!


Do I turn the AED on first?

Once the AED arrives, turn on the AED and it will instruct you on what to do next.


Can’t I just wait for EMS to arrive to use the AED?

In Sudden Cardiac Arrest, for every minute that passes, the chance of survival decreases by 10%. Average EMS response time is 7-14 minutes. (Time= The Problem and the Solution) Performing CPR until EMS arrives will help keep the oxygenated blood flowing through the body and up to the brain, but using an AED as quickly as possible gives the best outcome for survival.


If I need to apply the AED to a woman, do I have to take her bra off?

Yes, AED pads should be placed directly on the skin. Statistically, women have lower odds of survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest because people are concerned about exposing women.


Do you have to shave someone’s chest?

In some cases, yes. If there is excessive hair to the chest, you will want to shave it to ensure the AED pad gets as close to the skin as possible. Most AEDs should include a prep and response kit, which will include a razor and scissors to cut off the victim’s clothes. If a second set of pads is available, you can also use that to rip the hair off.


Does it matter which direction the pads are placed?

Yes. Every AED comes with pads that have illustrations on where to place the pads on a victim.


What if the person is in a puddle of water?

Move the victim out of the puddle, do a quick swipe to get them as dry as you can without taking too much time. Then, turn on the AED and proceed.


Can an AED be used on a pregnant person?

Yes, the AED can be used as normal. CPR can also be performed as normal on a pregnant person.


Can an AED be used on an infant?

Yes, on an infant the pad placement is to put one pad in the center of the chest and the other pad on the center of the back. Some AEDs will include pediatric pads that can also be used.


What is the cost and maintenance?

The cost of an AED ranges from about $1,000-$2,000. AEDs require regular checks to be sure they are ready to shock, as well as keeping the battery and pads within their expiration dates. We make this process easy with our Apollo Program Management software and Scout Remote Monitoring System.