The Triton


Sea Sick: If crew can’t pass this AED quiz, it’s time for a first-aid refresher


Sea Sick: by Keith Murray

We all know what follows next when a TV doctor shouts, “Clear!” It means someone is going to get shocked by a defibrillator. But just how much of what we see on TV and in the movies about AEDs is real?

Please take a few minutes and complete the quiz below. Then have the members of your crew take the same quiz and see how they do. A score of about 90 percent deserves an “A.” Scores below 75 percent indicate the need to schedule an onboard CPR AED First Aid class.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 325,000 people in the U.S. die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. It kills more people in the U.S. than breast cancer, lung cancer  and AIDS combined. Without the AED, the chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest is less than 5 percent, according to U.S. statistics. But if the AED is applied to the victim quickly, the survival odds increase to about 70-90 percent.

So don’t forget to share this little test with friends and family too.  Learning CPR and how to use an AED is a skill that everyone should know.

1. A member of your crew suddenly collapses and you connect them to the AED. Can you accidentally hurt them with the AED?
2. Where should you place the AED pads on an adult victim?
3. Where should you place the AED pads on a child victim under 8 years of age?
4. Is shaving the chest of a hairy victim necessary when using an AED?
5. You mistakenly connect someone to an AED that is alive and breathing, and push the shock button. Will the AED injure them?
6. What should you do if you find that the victim is wearing a nicotine patch or other medicated patch on their chest?
7. What does AED stand for?
8. Where is your heart located?
9. What song is it that both the American Heart Association and British Heart Association suggest using when performing CPR because its beat is the proper speed for compressions?
10. What other songs would provide the same beat/speed for compressions?
11. Can you use an AED on someone who is wet?
12. Can you use an AED on someone with a hairy chest?
13. Can you use an AED on someone with a pacemaker?
14. Can you use an AED on someone who is eight months pregnant?
15. Can you use an AED on a 10-month-old baby?
16. Which items should be kept with the AED?
17. Could CPR save your life if you are in cardiac arrest?
18. How often should an AED be inspected?
19. Are AEDs waterproof?

Scroll down for the answers.



1. No. AEDs only shock people who need it.  They will never shock a patient that does not need the shock.
2. Adult pads are intended for people over age 8 who weigh more than 55 pounds. The correct placement for adult pads is on the upper right chest and the lower left below the breast on the ribs.
3. Child, or pediatric, pads are intended for people under age 8, under 55 pounds.  The correct placement for children is on the center of the chest over the heart and the center of the back over the heart.
4. Yes. The electrode pads, like adhesive bandages, must have a clean, dry surface to be effective.  All AED ready kits should have trauma shears, razor, CPR mask and paper towels to dry the victim.
5. No. AEDs are designed to only shock people whose hearts have stopped working effectively. AEDs will only shock victims whose hearts need to be shocked to restore a healthy rhythm.
6. You must remove the medicine patch if it will be under the electrode pads.  Wear gloves to prevent yourself from accidentally coming into contact with the medication on the patch.
7. AED stands for automated external defibrillator.
8. The heart is located between the right and left lungs, in the middle of the chest between the imaginary nipple line.
9. The song “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees is 100 beats per minute and is the proper speed for compressions.
10. “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash and “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.
11. Yes. But you must dry the area where the pads go first.
12. Yes. But you must shave the area where the pads go first.
13. Yes. As long as they are not breathing, connect them and follow the voice prompts.
14. Yes. As long as they are not breathing, connect them and follow the voice prompts.
15. Yes. Ideally you will use pediatric pads or a pediatric key to reduce the energy. If you do not have these, then place the adult pads at the center of the child’s chest and the center of the child’s back, and follow the AED voice prompts.
16. Besides having a spare battery and spare adult pads, you should have the following items in your ready kit: trauma shears, razor, CPR mask and paper towels or absorbent cloth for drying the person’s chest.
17. CPR buys you time by moving blood which carries oxygen to the brain, the heart and other parts of the body, but it’s the shock from the AED that gets the heart beating again.
18. Most AED manufacturers suggest monthly inspections of the AED.
19. AEDs have an IP – “international protection” or “ingress protection” – rating that indicates the level of protection electrical equipment (like AEDs) provide against sand, dirt or water. The IP numbers are usually between 1 and 6.  The higher an AED’s IP rating, the less likely it is to be damaged by water.

Zero questions wrong: You should have been a doctor.
One to two wrong: Not bad. You still get an “A.”
Three to four wrong: You get a “B” for this test, but should brush up on your skills.
Five or more: You need emergency CPR training. Schedule a class “stat” – your CPR skills need first aid.

EMT Keith Murray provides onboard CPR, AED and first-aid training as well as AED sales and service. His company can be found at Comments are welcome below.

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