Life on the line: Learn to use a defibrillator - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Life on the line: Learn to use a defibrillator

By Dan Cooke - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If someone next to you, someone you know and love, dropped to floor with a cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? No matter where you are in Hawaii, chances are improving that a crucial lifesaving device is close by.

Automated external defibrillators or AEDs have been around for a decade. But only recently, thanks to a Good Samaritan law, the number of AEDs in Hawaii has gone from a handful, to thousands.

"It was a big change in 2007," said Pamela Foster of the AED Institute.

"We went from you had to be certified to use an AED to no liability whatsoever. Doesn't matter where that AED is, doesn't matter if you've been trained or not, no liability."

Today, you'll find AEDs at airports, office buildings and schools. Most malls, like Ala Moana, have several. It's a good idea to know where they are.

Erin Boland was glad she had seen an AED close to her work.

"I was working as a server at Bubba Gump's and had gone into the kitchen to get some food and one of our chefs was on the floor, I asked what happened and they said he collapsed and they had called 911.

"I remembered there was an AED around the corner. I grabbed the AED, hooked it up to him, followed directions, and shocked him, which ultimately saved his life."

Bryan Eatmon and his family got the chance later to thank Boland, who not only saved his life, she changed his life. Eatmon is now a certified American Heart Association AED instructor on the mainland and volunteers to help others learn how to be lifesavers.

I say using an AED is easy. Even if you have never done it before, just listen to the machine and do what it says.

Open it up and press the number one. Apply the pads to the patient. Pictures on the pads show you where to put them. Plug the cable into the machine. It will automatically start assessing the patients heart rhythm to see if it's a shockable rhythm.

It won't let you shock if it isn't. Push the red button, shock the patient, then start doing CPR until help arrives. Don't be afraid to use an AED, you can only do good.

Foster wants everyone to feel comfortable about using an AED, should the need arise.

"It's automated. It has a brain in there that will only shock a shockable rhythm and shockable rhythms are only found in dead people. So you can't make them any worse, only better."

More Life on the Line on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Life on the line: Crash course in CPR

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly