Skip main navigation

Automated external defibrillators

An overview of AEDs
Green background with white heart and cross symbols
© University of Glasgow, 2017

AEDs are gaining increasing public awareness through a number of high profile cases where they have saved lives (see links below). But what are they, where would you find them and how are they used?

What is an AED?

• An electrical device that aims to restart a stopped heart

• It works by delivering a shock to the casualty

Where can I find an AED?

o Certain shops e.g. pharmacies

o Shopping centres

o Train stations

o Airports

• If you need an AED, make sure to ask!

How do I use an AED?

• You do not need any prior experience to operate an AED

• AED’s guide the user through each step via visual and/or audible prompts

• Each AED has two shock pads: these must be placed on the chest at the areas shown on them

• Make sure to STAND WELL AWAY from the casualty when shocking them

In the subsequent video you will see CPR and an AED in action!

© University of Glasgow, 2017
This article is from the free online

Basic First Aid: How to Be an Everyday Hero

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education