A defibrillator is a medical device that is used to restore a normal heart rhythm in individuals who are experiencing cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart stops beating effectively, resulting in the loss of consciousness and the inability to breathe. We can recognise cardiac arrest in a casualty if they are unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally. Defibrillators are designed to deliver an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. Defibrillators are often called “AEDs,” or automated external defibrillators and are designed to be used by anyone (trained or untrained). AED’s are often found in public places such as airports, sports stadiums, and shopping centres. These are known as public access defibrillators and are meant to be accessible and easy to use by the public in case of an emergency. It is currently not mandatory to have a defibrillator in a public place or workplace.

There are two main types of defibrillators: semi-automated and fully automated. Semi-automated defibrillators require the operating person to deliver the electric shock by pushing the shock button once prompted by the device. Fully automated defibrillators are designed to deliver the shock automatically but they will give advanced notice to ensure that no one is touching the casualty at the time the shock is delivered.



Defibrillators work by delivering an electric shock to the heart. This shock is designed to “resynchronize” the heart’s rhythm, allowing it to beat effectively again. The shock is delivered through pads that are placed on the person’s chest. The pads are connected to the defibrillator by wires, and the defibrillator delivers the shock through these wires.

AEDs are designed to be easy to use, even by untrained people. They have clear instructions and visual prompts to guide the user through the process of using the device. The AED will analyse the heart rhythm and determine if a shock is needed. If a shock is needed, the AED will instruct the user to press a button to deliver the shock (semi-automated AED’s), or give warning before it delivers the shock (fully automated AED’s)

Defibrillators are typically used in conjunction with other life-saving measures, such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). CPR is a technique that involves chest compressions and rescue breathing to keep blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs. ACLS is a more advanced form of life support provided by paramedics and medical personnel in hospitals, that includes the use of drugs and other interventions to support the person’s heart and breathing.


When a person experiences cardiac arrest, the heart’s rhythm becomes abnormal, and the heart is no longer able to pump blood effectively. This leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, which can result in permanent damage or death. Defibrillators restore normal heart rhythm and blood to flow to the brain and other vital organs.

Defibrillators save lives, and defibrillation is a crucial step in the treatment of cardiac arrest. The sooner the defibrillator is applied the greater the chances of survival for the casualty.

Around 20,000 Australians suffer a cardiac arrest outside a hospital every year. Only 10% of people will survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest.  It is hoped that in time, as more public access defibrillators are available that we may see this survival rate improve.

You can do your bit to help improve these statistics by purchasing a defibrillator for your home or workplace, and ensuring you, your family and your work colleagues are up to date with current first aid and CPR training.

If you would like some information regarding the purchase of a defibrillator or to book first aid and CPR training please send us an enquiry at: [email protected]