An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a device used when someone is experiencing certain types of cardiac arrest. In cardiac arrest, or sudden cardiac death, the heart’s electrical activity is disorganized and there is no effective pumping of blood. An AED is capable of recognizing the heart's electrical activity, determining if an electric shock is required, and restoring normal heart rhythm.
AED devices are safe. They are programmed to deliver shocks only when the heart rhythm is not effective and the electric shock is definitely required. If the shock is needed, a voice prompt in the AED is activated, telling the rescuer to push a button to deliver the shock. The device is only applied when a person has collapsed in cardiac arrest, has no effective breathing or coughing, and no movement. An AED should not deliver an electric shock if applied by mistake to a person who has fainted or had a seizure.
California law allows the placement and use of AEDs in the home, work settings, and other public locations. Rules for training vary depending on whether the AED is for a specific individual, or for use in a public setting. Orange County Emergency Medical Services should be notified when an AED device is located in a private or public setting anywhere in the County of Orange. Specific information related to AED program requirements can be found by viewing the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Ch. 1.8 and other provided in links on this page.
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