'You can't hurt anybody': How to save someone's life with a defibrillator
Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) becoming more readily available in public
Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are becoming more readily available in public buildings on P.E.I., and Chris Landry of Island First Aid Services wants Islanders to know they are easy to use.
Regular Islanders using them have already saved many lives, Landry said.
"If you're waiting for emergency responders to get to you, there's a very good chance it's not going to happen soon enough.
"People off the street using them, that's what's saving people's lives."
AEDs can deliver a shock that can restart the heart of someone in cardiac arrest. The province recently announced plans to install them in all public schools.
Landry wants to assure people that the devices are truly automatic.
"If you happen to hook it up to someone who is not in cardiac arrest it will not shock them. You can't hurt anybody with this. The machine will do all the thinking," he said.
The first step is to check for signs of life. Is the chest rising and falling with the person's breathing? Are they pale and clammy to the touch? Hook the patient up if you are not sure because, again, the machine will not shock someone who doesn't need it.
Talking you through
The key thing the user has to do is hook the pads up to the patient's bare chest, Landry said. The pad package includes a picture of where to put them, as do the pads themselves. Even if you get it wrong, he said, the device can still be effective.
Once the patient is hooked up, turn the machine on. It will begin to speak and guide you through the process.
Some machines will also guide you through CPR, including a puck to press on. On devices with the puck, the machine can tell you whether your compressions are strong enough.
The province expects the defibrillators will be in all schools by the end of May.
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With files from Island Morning