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The 5 most shocking myths about defibrillators

The most shocking thing about defibrillators is not what they do to a person’s heart, but what some people think about them. Here are 5 of the most common myths about one of the most important pieces of first aid equipment ever developed.

1. A defibrillator “jump starts” your heart, just like you do when your car’s battery is flat.

Most people think, because of Hollywood movies and TV shows, that defibrillators “jump start” your heart after it has stopped. Actually, that’s completely wrong. A defibrillator doesn’t start your heart, it actually stops it. The reason you need to use a defibrillator is because the person has gone into cardiac arrest which means there’s an electrical fault in their heart. The heart in this situation can be beating wildly & irregularly or intermittently. This is called “fibrillation”. So, a “de-fibrillator” actually stops the heart and lets it start again with its own natural rhythm, thereby restoring it to normal heartbeat. (Your heart instinctively wants to beat with a normal regular rhythm, so this process allows it to do what it was designed by Nature to do!)

2. You need special training to use a defibrillator

While every good first aid course will teach you everything you need to know about using a defibrillator, the great thing about them these days is that they are designed to be used by anyone, even someone who’s never used one before. As soon as you open most defibrillators these days, they turn themselves on. And they have a pre-recorded voice that tells you exactly how to use it! You simply follow the step-by-step instructions and you can save a life!

3. You could make things worse by using a defibrillator

Many people who are not trained in first aid don’t know the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. (One is a plumbing problem, the other an electrical problem.) So, they worry that if they used a defibrillator on a person who doesn’t need it, they might do some harm. The great news is you don’t need to worry about that. Simply switch on the machine and apply the pads and if the person doesn’t need it, it won’t work! They are that smart these days. You are always best to err on the side of caution and try it.

4. You need to wait until a person’s heart has stopped before using a defibrillator

This one is definitely not true. And if you’ve read all the other myths and their actual truths, you’ll know why. The simple thing is you can’t go wrong with using a defibrillator as quickly as possible on a person who shows signs they might need it. (Have collapsed, having heart problems, trouble breathing, are unconscious, etc) That’s why there are so many defibrillators in so many public places these days because you need to start using one fast!

5. I don’t need a defibrillator in my workplace.

Sadly, this one is the biggest myth of all. And it does lead to loss of life. While many businesses and organisations must have a defibrillator on their premises by law, the reality is that every business should have one. Can you imagine if a customer or staff member had a cardiac arrest on your premises and they died because you couldn’t get a defibrillator on them quickly enough? They are not as expensive as you think and are generally tax deductible. Find out how to buy one today at


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