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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Public Service Announcement

I went to a CPR course this morning. I'd been to one before, about three years ago, but this was the first time I had been trained in using an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Did you know that the newer ones which are being placed all over have recorded messages which tell you what to do? Even if you've never had CPR training, if you are the best or only person available to save someone who has no pulse, please use an AED if one is available. You should call 911, or better yet have someone else do it, while you set up the AED. They say every minute in cardiac arrest lowers the victim's chances of survival by 10% (and they didn't start at 100% at the time of the heart attack).

The AED's have start buttons. Once you push start, it will tell you how to attach the pads. Once the pads are attached, the AED can analyze the patient's heart activity and decide whether administering a shock is advisable. It warns you not to touch the patient, and tells you when to push the shock button. In some cases, the shock is not advisable, and it will tell you that too.

So pay attention to where AED's are stored at your workplace and other places you go, and make sure other people are, too. And while it would be best to have a trained paramedic or EMT administer treatment, and second best to have someone trained in CPR, don't hesitate to grab an AED and start hooking it up if you're the only option for someone without a pulse. At that moment, you're their only hope.