Frequently Asked Questions
What is an AED?
The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device. An AED can check a person's heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. And it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights, and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take.
AEDs are very accurate and easy to use. Lay rescuers with a few hours of training can operate an AED safely. There are many different brands of AEDs. But the same basic steps operate all AEDs. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department does not recommend a specific AED.
What's the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department position on placement of AEDs?
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department strongly advocates that all EMS first-response vehicles and ambulances be equipped with an AED or another defibrillation device (semiautomatic or manual defibrillator). Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department also supports placing AEDs in targeted public areas such as sports arenas, gated communities, office complexes, doctor's offices, shopping malls, etc. When AEDs are placed in a community, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department strongly encourages that they be part of a defibrillation program in which:
· Persons or entities that acquire an AED notify the Division Chief of Rescue.
· A licensed physician or medical authority provides medical oversight to ensure quality control handled by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
· Persons responsible for using the AED are trained in CPR and how to use an AED. See AHA website for training classes.
Why is notifying the Division Chief of Rescue important?
It's important for the local EMS system to know where AEDs are located in the community. In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency, the 9-1-1 dispatcher will know if an AED is on the premises and will be able to notify the EMS system as well as the responders already on the scene.
Why should a licensed physician or medical authority be involved with purchasers of AEDs?
This is a quality control mechanism. The licensed physician or medical authority will ensure that all designated responders are properly trained and that the AED is properly maintained. This will be handled by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
Why should people who are responsible for operating an AED receive CPR training?
Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest. The ventilation and compression skills learned in a CPR class help to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain. After delivering a series of three electric shocks, the typical AED will prompt the operator to continue CPR while the device continues to analyze the patient.
If AEDs are so easy to use, why do people need formal training in how to use them?
An AED operator must know how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate the EMS system, and how to do CPR. It's also important for operators to receive formal training on the AED model they will use so that they become familiar with the device and are able to successfully operate it in an emergency. Training also teaches the operator how to avoid potentially hazardous situations.
Can anyone buy an AED?
AEDs are manufactured and sold under guidelines approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Current FDA rules require someone who purchases an AED to present a physician's prescription for the device. Prescription will be provided by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department's Medical Director once CPR and defibrillator training has been accomplished.
What steps should an organization take to buy an AED for its premises?
Any person or entity wanting to buy an AED must first get a prescription from a physician. The AED should be placed in use within a defibrillation program that includes these elements:
· Training of all users in CPR and operation of an AED (AHA Heartsaver AED Course).
· Physician oversight to ensure appropriate maintenance and use of the AED.
· Notify the Division Chief of Rescue of type and location of AED.