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What is a defibrillator?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable life-saving machine that delivers a controlled electric shock through the chest wall to help restore the heart's normal rhythm.

How do I use a defibrillator?

Using a defibrillator is really easy. The machine has a visual display and speaks to the user telling them exactly what to do and when.

Will I be trained if my organisation buys a defibrillator through the appeal?

Yes. The Derek Higgs Start a Heart Appeal will make sure you are given accredited basic life support training by certified trainers at the West Midlands Ambulance Service. This will include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Is using a defibrillator when a person suffers a cardiac arrest really that important?

Yes. Time is critical when you're helping an unconscious person who isn't breathing. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest and the heart stops pumping effectively, the absence of oxygenated blood can cause irreparable brain damage in only a few minutes. Death will occur within eight to 10 minutes. For every minute that passes after the cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by 10 per cent.