When to Use AED in the Chain of Survival

When to Use AED in the Chain of Survival

The chances of a victim surviving a sudden cardiac arrest decrease seven to ten percent for each minute that passes without treatment. Follow these steps to increase your success rate.


Step 1 - Sudden Cardiac Arrest Assessment

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and heart attack both involve the malfunctioning of the heart, but the similarities end there. SCA can be a frightening and confusing situation when a person collapses and becomes unconscious. When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the victim is experiencing an interruption in the normal electrical activity of the heart. This ventricular fibrillation must be stopped as soon as possible. If a person collapses and then stops breathing, SCA may be the cause. The time from collapse to an assessment of the medical situation can take at least one minute.

Step 2 - Call 911

If SCA is suspected, contacting emergency response services is vital and absolutely necessary for the victim’s survival; this can take at least one minute as well. The only way for ventricular fibrillation to be stopped is by using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart and get it beating normally again (defibrillation).

Step 3 - Dispatch Fire/EMS

In ideal situations, the 911 operator will be able to dispatch emergency response units within one minute of the call coming in. However, by this time, at least three minutes have passed since the victim collapsed; chances of survival have dropped by as much as 30%.

Aid is sent.Typical emergency response times can take as long as ten to twenty minutes in many areas. If police are first on the scene, their cruisers may not be equipped with AEDs. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can help by delivering oxygen to the brain and blood flow to the heart but it cannot restart the heart’s normal rhythm and without a beating heart, a person cannot survive.

Step 4 - Locate Victim, Attach AED and Deliver Shock

If EMS responders reach the victim in a timely manner, it is hoped that they will be able to administer defibrillation, using an automated external defibrillator, within two minutes.

Note: Chances of survival from SCA decrease 10% for every minute that passes and if defibrillation does not occur within a five to ten minute window, the chances of a victim surviving are almost zero.

AED Brands has made it our goal to advocate for the placement of AEDs in all public gathering places (such as airports, sports arenas, health clubs, etc.) and schools, churches and office buildings. Thousands of people, some statistics estimate as many as 400,000, will die from sudden cardiac arrest this year. Join with us and help stop this deadly affliction from killing more people this year.

Implementation Guide

Get Your Site Assesment

0% Complete


You're all done! See your recommended AED's below.

The best AED for your needs

Philips HeartStart OnSite AED M5066A


Philips HeartStart FRx AED with FREE Carry Case 861304


Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 AED


Defibtech View AED






Would you like these results sent to your email?

If so, just fill our your email address below and submit.

We value your privacy and will not share, sell or rent your personal information. View our privacy policy.
Which is the best AED for my needs?
Let us help you identify the best options using our tool, Zappy!
AEDs that are budget friendly without compromising quality and performance.
Portability (Size/Wt.)
AEDs that are compact and lightweight. Great for travel and small spaces.
Durability (Dust/Water Resistance)
AEDs with high resistance to dust and water damage. Perfect for outdoors, areas near water, vehicles, and industrial settings.
CPR Feedback
AEDs with audible and/or visual feedback on the quality of compressions given during CPR. Great for untrained responders or those with limited training.
Fully Automatic Option
No shock button. The AED will automatically deliver a shock if needed. Removes the responsibility from the user. Great for untrained responders.
Pediatric Method
A pediatric key or button eliminates the need to purchase pediatric pads.
Maintenance Cost
Cost of replacement supplies for the life of the AED.
Remote Monitor Option
This feature reports the status of the AED to a web portal. Great for large or multi-location deployments. Cuts down on administrative workload. Adds accountability and ensures readiness.
Dual Language
AEDs that can toggle between two languages. Great for deployments that have diversity. English/Spanish is the preset option. Must request for alternative languages.
Required Inspection Interval
Each state requires AED maintenance per manufacturer guidelines. Some AEDs save time by requiring inspections less frequently. Great for large or multi-location deployments.