How to use a defibrillator -

How to use a defibrillator

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 325,000 Americans die every year from cardiac arrest. Ninety-five percent of these victims die because they don't get medical help soon enough.

To the average person, saving a life in that short amount of time may seem impossible. But thanks to modern technology, there's now a device that anyone can use to increase a victim's chance of survival by as much as 75 percent.

The automated external defibrillator, or AED, is showing up in more public places across the country. But even though this machine saves thousands of lives every year, too many people are afraid to use them.

Fitness Instructor Tracey Smith was thrown into crisis mode when one of her regular students suddenly collapsed.

"He lost all color in his face and his eyes were fluttering," says Smith. "Then he fell against the pole that was next to his bike."

While other club members, including two doctors, just stood by and watched, Tracy started CPR as Club Manager Amaud Mitchell grabbed the AED.

"He had no pulse. He wasn't breathing, so CPR definitely wasn't working for him," says Mitchell.

As he prepared to use the AED, some of the onlookers discouraged him.

"They were like, 'Hey, don't use the AED. You're not supposed to use that,'" says Mitchell. "But we know that the AEDs are safe. It's not really going to shock you unless you need to be shocked. As opposed to, like, the traditional paddles you put on somebody and you say, 'clear' and it jolts you."

The machine told Mitchell exactly what to do. He followed the audio instructions and shocked the victim twice before paramedics arrived.

Fire Chief Jose Torres of the Santa Monica Fire Department says that the quick actions of Smith and Mitchell and the availability of the AED on the scene saved the man's life.

He also noted that the AED will not shock someone unless their heart has stopped.

Having saved someone's life with the device, Mitchell believes everyone should know what an AED is.

"Don't be afraid to use an AED, because when someone's heart stops, an electrical shock is their best chance for survival," added Torres.

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