DES MOINES, Iowa — An Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, is a life-saving device that shocks the heart of someone suffering a heart attack back into rhythm. By Iowa state law, they are required to be at any medical or athletic facility.

Tony Sposeto, the Captain of the Des Moines Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services, said that AEDs are something that anyone can use.

“It also walks you through the steps of chest compressions and when to check for a pulse and those types of things so the automatic external defibrillators are great in the fact that it’s quick, it’s easy to put on and it’s user friendly for any level of person out there not just trained health care providers,” Sposeto said.

Sposeto said that although it may seem intimidating to use the AED it is important for people to try to use them as well as CPR when someone is having a heart attack.

Dr. Dustin Derflinger, the Medical Director for the Des Moines Fire Department, said that quick action makes a big difference for patients.

“It really goes back to calling 911 getting to that person and starting CPR and if we have an AED applying that AED as soon as possible and that’s going to give that patient the best chance of recovery,” Dr. Derflinger said.

Dr. Racheal Sokol works in the emergency room at Unity Point Health Methodist Hospital. Dr. Sokol said that when an AED is used people are much more likely to survive a heart attack.

“We do see more survivability in patients who do have early CPR and access to AEDs,” Dr. Sokol said.

To learn more about AEDs and how to operate them visit the American Heart Associations’ website.