Automated external defibrillator (AED) awareness

 An instructor demonstrates how to use an AED machine on a mannequin

AED awareness session included as standard on first aid at work courses

Due to an increase in the provision of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and growth in customer demand, we include practical hands-on AED awareness sessions using trainer AEDs on our three day first aid at work and two day first aid at work requalification courses, across all UK training venues*.

The AED awareness session covers:

  • the chain of survival
  • how to use an AED machine.

We ensure attendees leave with the skills and confidence to help someone who is unconscious and not breathing by giving chest compressions and rescue breaths, along with a practical understanding of how to use an AED.

The AED awareness session is only available on our three day first aid at work and two day first aid at work requalification courses and is not designed to replace full AED training.

Book a first aid at work course

AED training courses

If you already have a current first aid certificate, our two hour certified AED training course is ideal to add the use of an AED machine to your skills. It recaps the treatment for an unconscious casualty and features information about:

  • recap of personal safety
  • assessing the incident and patient
  • DRABC check and sending for help
  • defibrillation (recognition of heart rhythms)
  • CPR and use of AED on a casualty
  • general guidelines for using a defibrillator
  • recording of information (sample report form)
  • handover to the emergency services.

If you don’t have a first aid certificate, but want to learn basic life support including how to use an AED, our half-day certified AED with life support course covers how to treat an unconscious casualty in addition to the topics shown above.

Book an AED course

Frequently asked questions about AEDs

What is an AED?

AED stands for automated external defibrillator. An AED is a portable machine that automatically sends an electric shock to the heart muscle to return it to its normal rhythm. Once opened, it provides full instructions on what you should do.

When should an AED be used?

AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest; this is when a person's heart stops working and they are unconscious and not breathing.

Each year 30,000 people have a cardiac arrest outside hospital each year** and prompt use of an AED (within 3–5 minutes of collapse), combined with chest compressions, can lead to survival rates of 50 to 75 per cent***.

Combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using an AED gives an unconscious person who is not breathing the best possible chance of survival.

Where are AEDs located?

In recent years AEDs have been installed in many busy public places; you may have noticed one at your local train station, shopping centre or school. 

Many workplaces also have an AED to ensure they are prepared for a first aid emergency.

Do I need AED training if I work in a school?

In November 2014, the Department for Education published new guidance encouraging schools to buy an AED as part of their preparation for dealing with first aid emergencies.

If you work in a school which has an AED, you should ensure your first aiders have up-to-date training which includes the use of an AED. Our courses cover the use of an AED on those over the age of one****.

To book a course or update an existing qualification, book online or call 0844 871 8000

Book a course

* Not currently available in Northern Ireland
** British Heart Foundation
*** European Resuscitation Council Guidelines for Resuscitation 2015 – Section 2
**** Special equipment or pads may be required to use an AED on small children, depending on the manufacturer

© British Red Cross 2016