Survivor Stories
Meet local survivors of cardiac arrest.
“I was taking a martial arts class at Basalt Middle ... read more
Hector Vazquez, Survivor
“I’m a bit of a fitness nut, healthy eater, and... read more
“Undead Ed”, Survivor
“I suffered a cardiac arrest while at Little Annie’s... read more
Tom Clapper, Survivor

What is an AED?

An AED is a small, portable device, about the size of a lap top computer, that provides a brief but powerful shock to the heart. The AED first checks the person's heart rhythm, decides if that rhythm is "off," and gives the heart an appropriate electric shock (called a defibrillating shock) that restores the heart’s natural rhythm.

AEDs are designed to be effective and easy-to-use devices. No medical training is necessary. AEDs use voice commands and screen messages to guide the user through defibrillation and CPR. By using an AED within 10 minutes of the onset of sudden cardiac arrest, you can potentially save a life!

To learn more about AED’s view the video below:

Where are the AED’s in our area?

There are over 180 AED’s located throughout our valley. They are not only located in ambulances and emergency response vehicles but also in public buildings like the airport, library, government offices, and schools. AED’s can also be found in hotels, private businesses and on-mountain. In the event of a cardiac emergency, the 911 emergency center will direct you to the nearest AED device.

How does an AED work?

A computer inside the defibrillator analyzes the victim's heart rhythm. The device detects whether a shock is needed and will use a voice prompt to alert the user of the necessary steps to take to administer a life-saving shock. The voice will advise the responder about how to properly apply the device and whether or not to administer a shock. If a shock is required, it will be delivered through pads adhered to the victim's bare chest (and the device recognizes if special pads should be used for a child compared to an adult). The shock stuns the heart, stopping abnormal heart activity, and allowing a normal heart rhythm to resume.

Who can use an AED?

The AED is designed to be used by any motivated bystander, regardless of training. It automatically analyzes heart rhythms to determine if defibrillation is advised, then calmly guides the user through CPR and defibrillation instructions. A shock cannot be administered if it is not needed. CPR/AED training is important since almost all victims also need CPR, and training helps responders understand the broader context of the cardiac chain of survival.

Can I accidentally hurt the victim with an AED?

No. Most SCA victims will die if they are not treated immediately. Your actions can only help. The AEDs are designed in such a way that they will only shock victims who need to be shocked.

Can I hurt myself or others with an AED?

No, not if you use it properly. The electric shock is programmed to go from one pad to the other through the victim's chest. Basic precautions, such as not touching the victim during the shock, making sure that other bystanders keep a safe distance from the victim, and following voice instructions from the AED device will help to ensure the safety of you, the victim, and other rescuers and bystanders.

Do AEDs replace the use of CPR?

No. CPR is still very important and high quality CPR can greatly improve the chances of survival. We strongly recommend full service CPR/AED classes to help you understand the

Is there a liability concern with having an AED?

There is a misperception that having an AED places greater liability on the entity that installs the device. Any person who in good faith renders care using an AED for a person in cardiac arrest is granted immunity from liability under Good Samaritan Laws that most states have, Colorado included. The clinical benefits of having AEDs far outweigh the minimal legal risks. there has not been significant litigation regarding AEDs, there have been a few cases involving the failure to have or use an AED. This would indicate that having AEDs may actually offer lower legal risks than going without. As was the case with airbags, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, AEDs are becoming firmly established in the realm of public safety due to the growing recognition of the effectiveness of AEDs when it comes to saving lives.