Because they’ve seen them used in movies and on TV, much of the public is familiar with the defibrillators that save lives by focusing electric energy on the heart to restore normal rhythm. Many people have even used the more user-friendly automated external defibrillators (AEDs) kept on hand in public places for use in emergencies by minimally trained non-medical professionals.
But many are unaware of the usefulness of defibrillator training devices that mimic the functions of a real defibrillator for practice purposes. Thorough training on defibrillators is essential in emergency situations, since the chance of survival for a cardiac arrest victim is reduced 10 percent for each minute defibrillation is delayed. Further, the placement of AEDs in workplaces has saved thousands of lives, since about 10,000 of the cardiac arrests occurring in the U.S. each year happen in the workplace. Since a federal push in 2000, some 2.4 million AEDs now hang on walls in public places across the country.
The most effective trainers include pads that actually affix to mannequins and offer real-time audio and visual prompts, as well as pre-recorded rescue training scenarios for drills. A choice of manual and automatic functions is preferred so trainers can adjust conditions as needed.
Often these portable, compact, battery-operated units boast prompts and other features identical to real defibrillators so the student can anticipate and react to how they’ll be using such tools in real life.