An AED (automated external defibrillator ) is a portable medical device used to treat someone who is suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The AED assesses the patient's heart rhythm, determines whether a defibrillating shock is needed and then administers the shock. This shock allows the heart to reestablish its normal heartbeat based on the body's natural pacemaker.
Defibrillators were once only found in hospitals. Developed in the late 1940's, they relied on alternating current from a wall outlet and were anything but portable. They were very heavy and could barely be transported around the hospital on a cart with wheels.
At this time, ambulances were still merely a way to transport patients to the hospital but they provided no medical services en route. As technology improved, and electrical components became smaller in size, defibrillators were developed to utilize direct current, and more importantly, to be powered by a battery.
The advent of the portable AED revolutionized first aid. Now, AEDs are required to be present in many places, including government buildings, gyms, schools. and many other public locations. With the increasingly ubiquitous nature of AEDs, it has become more and more important to educate the public on proper use.
Furthermore, those working in establishments with an AED on the premises should be certified to use an AED to ensure they are prepared to save a life in an emergency situation. Certification by a nationally accredited training center teaches those more likely to use an AED how to do so properly, and reduces any liabilities associated with keeping the AED on-site.
Who Needs AED Certification?
There is a distinction to be made between certification and training. Several companies offer both certified and noncertified training. Certified training is important for those required to be certified by law. First and foremost, EMT's and first responders need to be certified to use an AED, but they are
not the only people who should be certified. Healthcare workers, personal trainers, lifeguards, and childcare providers should all be certified given the nature of their occupation. Additionally, all school personnel from bus drivers to teachers should be certified.
More and more states are passing legislation that requires each school district to have at least one AED at each school, and some of this legislation requires CPR and AED certification for all personnel as well. Members of the public who are interested in learning how to use an AED in the event of an emergency may opt for a noncertified class since they are not bound by law to be certified. These classes are very similar in content but may be less detailed.
How To Become Certified
AED certification is often taught with Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). CPR training goes hand in hand with AED training, as proper use of an AED will include performing supplementary CPR. To become certified, you will want to research and choose a nationally accredited company with the expertise and experience to prepare you for an emergency. The company we recommend is En-Pro, who partner with the American Heart Association (AHA) to offer comprehensive First-Aid, CPR, and AED training. These training services can be delivered on-site, online, or a combination of both. Prices typically average around $100 per student, and decrease with larger class sizes. Typically, a CPR/AED class can be taught in as little as 2-5 hours.
It is impossible to be prepared for every potential emergency situation that life may present, but taking a CPR/AED class is an easy step in that direction that everyone should take. You never know when you may find yourself in a situation where simply knowing how to use an electronic device could save a life. When it comes to heart attacks, the old adage rings true: It's always better to be safe than sorry.