Automated External Defibrillator: ​Here Are 3 Emergency Health Situations Where You May Need to Use an AED by 30Seconds Mom

Automated External Defibrillator: ​Here Are 3 Emergency Health Situations Where You May Need to Use an AED

We tend to prepare for a lot of things on a daily basis. For example, we prepare for dinner by buying the ingredients and cooking them; we prepare for a flat tire by carrying a spare one in our vehicle; and we prepare for health emergencies by getting first aid training and carrying a first aid kit. In fact, we prepare for a lot of situations without even realizing it.

Another important situation that we must prepare for is a heart-related emergency, such as a heart attack or cardiac arrest. These emergency situations may require emergency CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and an AED (automated external defibrillator). The majority of us already know about CPR, but not as many of us know what an AED is.

Photo: Avive

An AED is a portable electronic device that may restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric shock or pulse to the heart. It’s an emergency device that can save lives. Thus, it’s important that you know how to use this device and learn what an AED machine does so you may be able to use it to save lives.

Check out these three different types of situations in which an AED could be really useful:

1. Drowning

You never know what may happen when your family goes swimming someplace or boating at a family cabin. Accidents can happen and one of your family members could drown. This is a situation where an AED becomes really important.

Once a person experiences drowning, their lungs could be filled with water. Since the lungs are filled with water, the person won’t be able to breathe, hence there’s no oxygen getting in. Without oxygen, the heartbeat begins to slow and the brain begins to die because it’s no longer receiving oxygen.

It’s important to call for help and use an AED as soon as possible for the person who drowned. Doing so could help restore their heartbeat back to its normal rhythm. Once the heartbeat becomes normal, oxygen may be properly delivered to the brain and to the rest of the body.

2. Fires

AEDs have become standard emergency medical equipment for both professional and volunteer firefighters. Without AEDs, a lot of people could have died as a result of inhaling smoke caused by fires.

Fires can happen anytime and anywhere, and their resulting damage can be very devastating. Smoke inhalation caused by fires can be deadly. Smoke inhalation can burn the respiratory system, which could lead to cardiac arrest.

If you see a person coming out of a burning house who’s coughing severely and suddenly collapses and stops breathing, they may need CPR and an AED. After calling emergency services, it's important to check if the person is still breathing or has a pulse. If not, CPR can be administered and then an AED can be used on the person until they start to breathe again.

3. Heart Attack

Did you know that more than 17 million people die from cardiovascular diseases every year? Out of the 17 million deaths per year, 85 percent die from a heart attack and stroke.

Heart attacks and strokes can happen without any warning. Since there are many signs and symptoms of a heart attack, there’s no exact way to determine if a particular person is about to have a heart attack. There are even some cases where a person doesn’t feel any symptoms at all, which is common among people who have diabetes. Heart attack situations may lead to cardiac arrest, which calls for the immediate use of an AED.

Thankfully, AEDs are now available in many public places in the country, and they can be used by almost anyone to aid someone who’s having a heart attack. AEDs may immediately treat cardiac arrest by sending an electric shock to the person’s heart, restoring the heartbeat to its normal rhythm. But you should always dial your emergency hotline immediately if you think you or someone is about to have a heart attack. This way, expert emergency personnel can arrive to help. When in public places, it’s important to know the location of the nearest AED so you can quickly retrieve it if someone needs it.

Final Thoughts

You can use an AED for many emergency situations that may lead to cardiac arrest. Having an AED nearby can significantly increase the chances of survival for the person who’s in cardiac arrest. Because of this, it's crucial to know the location of the nearest AED. The more we know where to find these AEDs, the better we can prepare for any emergencies that might occur.

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
Wow, this is incredibly helpful information. Many thanks for outlining these emergency situations where an AED could be critical. We need to get an AED, stat!
I didn’t know all this. Thanks for the info!
I know someone whose life was saved by an AED. Thanks for spreading the word about this life-saving device. 🙏🏼
I didn't know this about drowning and smoke inhalation. Really good to know about that, thank you!
Donna John
My husband had a heart attack 5 years ago. We got an AED not too long after that. Thank goodness we've never had to use it.

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