Automated External Defibrillator

Also Known As: AED

An automated external defibrillator or AED is a portable emergency device designed treat sudden cardiac arrest or SCA. An AED is used to check a person’s heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock if needed. Since the majority of SCAs result in death, AEDs are important emergency safety devices for pools and spas. In fact the American Heart Association estimates that AEDs have helped improve SCA survival rates by as much as 49 percent.

An SCA can be triggered by a variety of causes, including pool accidents. When the heart does not beat regularly, organs can be starved of blood, causing organ damage or even death. But when regular rhythms are restored, these outcomes can be avoided.

About the size of a lunchbox, an AED is battery operated. Automated voice instructions walk the user through a series of simple steps. Victims should be moved to a dry area and dried off with a towel. Regardless of the outcome, a call to 911 should be made. The device won’t automatically deliver defibrillation or an electric shock, but first checks the heart rhythm. If heartbeats warrant it, an electric shock is issued.

In some areas of the country, pools are required to have AEDs available, as well as AED-trained lifeguards and other pool personnel.