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What is an AED?

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator.



It is a small, portable medical device that delivers an electrical shock to the heart through the chest. During a sudden cardiac arrest, this shock can treat life-threatening and irregular heart rhythms known as Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) and allow a normal heart rhythm to resume.


What causes a sudden cardiac arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest is defined as a sudden loss of heart function. The majority of sudden cardiac arrests are caused by the onset of VF or, less frequently, asystole (heart stops contracting).

VF is characterized by chaotic electrical activity without mechanical contraction, resulting in a rapid cessation of blood circulation.

When the heart's pumping action is disrupted, blood cannot be pumped to the brain, lungs, or other organs. A person becomes unresponsive and stops breathing seconds later (or gasps for air). If the victim is not treated immediately, death occurs within minutes.

It is critical to understand that a cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Discover the difference here.


Importance of an AED

Every year, almost 3,000 Singaporeans die from sudden cardiac arrest. 70% to 80% of them occur at home or in public areas.


While the first thing you should do in a cardiac emergency is dial 995 for an ambulance, the average response time for an ambulance to arrive at the site is 8-11 minutes.

Every minute that nothing is done to revive the patient reduces the patient's chances of survival by 10%. Bystander CPR+AED is helpful in rescuing the patient within the golden hour in such a case.


According to research, cardiac arrest, while lethal, is a survivable condition if a person receives prompt CPR and defibrillation. Early CPR+AED can raise a victim's chances of survival by up to 60%*.

AEDs allow more individuals to respond to medical crises that require defibrillation.


In Singapore, where can I get AEDs?

In Singapore, there are around 10,000 AEDs that are accessible to the general public. They can be found in a variety of public settings, including residential, commercial, and industrial sites, railway stations and bus interchanges, and community facilities. One AED may also be found in the lift lobby of every two HDB blocks on the island.


Download the myResponder smartphone app and use the live map to find a publicly accessible AED. In an emergency, the myResponder app may route you to the nearest AED within 400 meters of your location.


Over 200 taxis and private rental cars have AEDs fitted as part of the AED-on-Wheels project, increasing AED availability throughout the community.


Who can use an AED?

You certainly can.


AEDs provide a voice prompt that gives non-medical individuals with simple step-by-step instructions. To use an AED, you do not require any training.


If you come across someone who is having sudden cardiac arrest, dial 995 and stay on the line with the emergency operator, who will walk you through CPR and the use of an AED.


How Do I Get an AED Out of the Cabinet?

To avoid abuse, all AED cabinets are locked with a key. In an emergency, you will need to smash a glass in order to get the key to the cabinet.


If you use your bare hands, you may wind up with scraps on your hands.


Instead, use a strong or pointed implement, such as a key or pen, and hit boldly at the center of the AED cabinet's glass to smash it and collect the key.

How does an AED work?

When connected to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest, the AED monitors the heart's rhythm and informs first responders on whether a shock is required.

Voice prompts, lights, and on-screen text instruct the rescuer on how to give an electrical shock to the victim's heart in order to re-establish an effective rhythm.


How to Use an AED

1. Use an AED in a secure location.

Check the area for damp or metallic surfaces, as well as flammable gases, which might jeopardize safety.


Continue CPR until the AED is ready for examination.


2. Turn on the AED and follow the voice instructions.

Put on your gloves and move any jewelry on the victim's body to the side.


Shave any chest hair and roll up the casualty's shirt. Remove the medicinal patches and dry the chest. Make sure your chest is naked, dry, and clean.


3. Set the AED electrode pads in place.


Shock advised

  1. Shout “Stay Clear”

  2. Ensure no one is in contact with the casualty before pressing the shock button.

  3. After shock is applied, resume chest compressions, and follow the AED prompts.

  4. Second rescuer can take over to do CPR.

No shock advised

  1. Resume chest compressions and follow the AED prompts.

  2. Second rescuer can take over to do CPR.

Stop CPR only when the AED is analysing heart rhythm, when the casualty wakes up or regains normal breathing, or when the paramedics take over.

Where should AEDs be placed?

Every organization should strive to have an AED within a 3-minute walk of its employees.

General Practitioner (GP) clinics, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics, and dentistry clinics should also have AEDs and give necessary training to their employees to boost their readiness to respond to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients.


If you currently have a private AED, you may help improve coverage and awareness of publicly accessible AEDs in Singapore by registering it with the national AED registry. Members of the registry receive membership advantages, so register your AED immediately!


Where Can You Learn More About AED?

Becoming certified in CPR+AED is suggested to help you increase your abilities and confidence.


Singapore First Aid Training Centre provides CPR+AED classes to meet every need and budget.


Designed for laypersons and delivered in just 4 hours, the CPR+AED Course will show you how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) with precision, and how to apply and operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) effectively during a cardiac arrest scenario.

This course also covers the important do's and don'ts of that all rescuers must know when performing CPR and AED.

Accredited by the Singapore Resuscitation and First Aid Council (SRFAC).


To make the first step towards becoming first aid trained check our course here to find out more.





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