Automated External Defibrillator

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a small, portable, easy to operate lifesaving medical device designed to analyse an unconscious person’s heart rhythm and automatically deliver an electrical shock to a person having a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. An AED will not deliver a shock unless it detects a shockable heart rhythm.

Do schools need an AED?

AEDs are not routinely required in school-based first aid kits or first aid rooms.

The decision to purchase an AED is the choice of each individual school. It can be determined by assessing the risk in situations where timely access to emergency services cannot be guaranteed, for example, in situations considered high risk such as school camps, remote locations or in settings with staff, students or visitors with a known risk of cardiac arrest.

When is an AED used?

An AED is only one part of the emergency response for the person and does not negate the need for other priority first aid response actions. The school’s first aid Action Plan should be followed.

An AED should only be used if the person is:

  • unconscious/unresponsive
  • not breathing normally/regularly
  • not moving in any way
  • eight years of age or older, unless an age-appropriate AED is available.

Who can use an AED?

Although AEDs have been designed to be user-friendly, it is important that training is conducted to ensure that staff are aware of the proper application of the AED and how it is incorporated into other school emergency management strategies.

Is training required?

Comprehensive training is recommended to give staff greater confidence in the use of an AED. Training should include the following elements:

  • appropriate first aid training, including safe use of AED
  • development and testing of on site action plans for response to cardiac arrest
  • incident recording
  • AED storage and maintenance
  • access to refresher training (required every 12 months).

Where should the AED be located?

An AED should be clearly signed, visible, accessible and located in a convenient area that is not exposed to extreme temperatures, for example a school’s reception, common areas or main corridors. An AED should not be easily accessible to students.

How should the AED be maintained?

AEDs are designed to require minimal care and maintenance. They should be maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications.

General machine care recommendations include:

  • periodically checking that the machine is functioning
  • checking batteries monthly and after each use
  • checking pads and other components of the machine to ensure that they are present, in working order and have not passed the expiry date
  • checking the outside of the defibrillator for cracks or other signs of damage
  • recording each periodic check.
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