What is an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) ?

An Automatic External Defibrillator is an electronic device that delivers a small electric shock to the heart that can re-establish a normal rhythm after sudden cardiac arrest.

How does an AED work?

A computer analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm through two adhesive electrodes and determines if an electric shock is needed or not. If the heart is in ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia, the two most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest, the AED will deliver a shock through the two electrodes.

Why are AEDs important?

Early “defibrillation” can drastically increase the survivability of cardiac arrest. If the electric shock can be delivered in the first several minutes after cardiac arrest, survivability can be as high as 75-85 percent.

Who can use an AED?

Completely automated AEDs can be used by any lay rescue person that is trained by American Heart Association or American Red Cross. A typical CPR/AED course takes about three hours to complete.

Will an AED always resuscitate someone in cardiac arrest?

With every minute that passes after sudden cardiac arrest, we lose 10 percent survivability. With early CPR, the AED and EMS, the chances of survival are greatly increased.                        

Can I be held liable for using an AED?

New York State has a “Good Samaritan Law” which protects rescuers from litigation.

What type of AED program does SUNY Cortland have?

Cortland has a PAD program which means the AEDs are in public spaces across the campus with full access to anyone certified to use them.

When the door to one of the wall mounted AED cabinets is opened, several things will occur. A loud local alarm will sound to notify any other nearby rescuers. A phone call is automatically placed to the University Police Department, who will respond by immediately sending a squad car to the location and by notifying the campus EMS squad and the local ambulance squad.

Are there plans to expand the program?

In the next five years, there will be an AED and trained rescuers in every building on this campus.

Where can I obtain training in CPR and the proper use of an AED?

The SUNY Cortland Student EMS Squad offers classes and American Heart Association and American Red Cross have local chapters in Cortland. You can find them in the phone book.

Where can I go for more information about AEDs?

You can try one of the following links: