Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is an AED/Defibrillator?

A. An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator. This device is designed to treat one of Canadians leading killers - Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

Q. How does an AED treat sudden cardiac arrest?

A. Once the AED is turned on and pads are placed on the victim's chest, the AED will do an ECG (analyze the hearts rhythm), and determine if a shock is recommended. To save someone's life, a button must be pressed to deliver the shock.

Q. Could I deliver a shock in error?

A. No. If the patient's heart does not require a shock, the defibrillator will not allow you to shock the patient, even if the shock button was pressed.

Q. If I've taken CPR, isn't that enough?

A. No. Studies have shown that for adults, CPR alone is able to terminate SCA approximately 25% of the time. When these same adults can be defibrillated within 3 minutes, their chance of survival can be increased to almost 70%.

Q. Can a non-medical person easily use an AED?

A. Yes. In fact, AEDs are designed so an ordinary person can be guided through the steps of applying the AED pads, pressing the shock button, and be coached through CPR.

Q. Is an AED difficult to maintain?

A. No. AEDs have a "ready status" window that will show if the AED has passed its most recent internal test for readiness. The battery and pads are the two items that will need to be periodically replaced. Regular checks of these items are recommended by every manufacturer.

Q. Can I buy this from the U.S.?

A. The only units approved for sale in Canada are those certified and licensed by Health Canada. Currently, the Philips HeartStart OnSite (HS1) defibrillator is listed as an approved device. As a result of the certification and licensing process, only those Philips AEDs which have been designated and serial numbered for the Canadian market will be covered under Philips' 8 year warranty. ActionAED (parent company Action First Aid) is a licensed Canadian distributor of the Philips HeartStart product line and holds a valid Medical Device Establishment License (MDEL) with Health Canada.