AED Safety FAQ

While checking out the safety gear available on a dive boat, I noticed an automated external defibrillator (AED) among the first-aid equipment. Is it safe to use an AED around water? How about on a metal boat deck?
 Early defibrillation and aggressive CPR are the two actions proven to increase the likelihood of survival of a victim of cardiac arrest. CPR circulates blood to vital organs, but it cannot restore a patient's heart to a healthy rhythm. The definitive survival treatment for someone experiencing cardiac arrest is defibrillation — a shock. To be most effective, defibrillation must occur as soon as possible after the onset of cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), each minute of delay before defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10 percent. Published studies have asserted that early defibrillation can save up to 74 percent of victims.

While AEDs have been used for many years in airports, shopping malls, gyms and senior citizens centers, divers and boat captains may be reluctant to bring them into wet environments or onto metal-hulled boats out of concern that bystanders may be endangered by potential electricity conduction. Current research, however, indicates that AEDs are safe to use around water and on metal surfaces.

The best information is available from the AED manufacturers themselves, who document minimal conduction of electricity to bystanders during defibrillation with AEDs. As long as the rescuer does not have actual contact with the victim's chest (i.e., touching the chest to administer CPR), he or she is not at risk for significant electrical shock. Also, the longer the distance between the defibrillation pads and the bystanders, the less electricity will be transmitted. Those in a boat or on a conductive surface (metal or water) may feel, at most, a tingle.

In a statement from the AHA and other resuscitation agencies: "Always check with the manufacturer, but most AEDs, because they are self-grounded, can be safely used in wet environments and on metal surfaces with no risk to the victim or rescuer."

Frances Smith, EMT-P, DMT
Posted in

No Comments


Categories

 2016 (119)
Air Quality Annual renewal Arthroscopic surgery Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Boyle\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\'s Law Breath hold Breath-hold Buoyancy CGASA Cancer Remission Cancer Cape Town Dive Festival Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Cold Water Contaminants DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCS Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive accidents Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Diveleaders Divers Alert Diving injuries Diving Dr Rob Schneider Ear pressure Ears injuries Exercise Eye injuries FAQ Fatigue Fitness Francois Burman Free diving Freediver Gas laws Gastric bypass Gordon Hiles Health practitioner Inert gas Instructors Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legislation Leukemis Medical Q Middle ear pressure Mycobacterium marinum Nosebleeds Orbital implants Oxygen ears Part 3 Pool Diving Report incidents SABS 019 Safety Science Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Snorkeling Surgery Thermal Notions Underwater photographer Valsalva manoeuvers Vasvagal Syncope Wreck dive Youth diver abrasion alert diver antibiotics breathing air child decongestants dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive doctors ear spaces equalizing hospital immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN marine pathogens medical procedures medical risk assesment mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre outgas post dive saturation scuba sinus infections