An AED can be a useful tool when you find someone unconscious and unresponsive. Shout and shake the person to make sure they are truly unconscious and not just sleeping. Please note that you are never to shake a baby or young child. The best way to check to see if they are unconscious is to pinch them or flick the bottom of their foot.

Once you verify that they are unconscious, check their breathing and pulse. If either is absent or irregular, tell another bystander to call 9-1-1 and report back to you. At this point, you will want to get the AED and start preparing it for use.

You do not have to be trained in the medical field to use an AED. It is user-friendly and gives step-by-step directions. The first thing you will want to do is to make sure the unconscious person is in a dry area. You will then turn on the device and listen to the voice prompts.

You will expose the person’s chest so you can attach the sticky pads. Make sure to remove all clothing from the chest and attach the pads as pictured on the instructions. Place one pad on the right center of the chest above the nipple. The other pad will be placed on the left side of the ribcage below the nipple. For children and babies you would place one pad on the chest and the other pad on the back.

Next, you will connect the wires from the pads to the device and then press the “analyze” button. Don’t touch the person while the machine checks the heart rhythm. If a shock is needed, it will tell you when to deliver it. Make sure nobody is touching the person before you push the shock button. The machine will then advise you to start CPR. You will continue that until medical help arrives or the person becomes conscious.