Can You Use an AED in Water?

An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a life-saving device designed to deliver an electric shock to the heart in the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) to restore its normal rhythm. While AEDs are highly effective and user-friendly, using them in a wet or aquatic environment, such as water, raises specific considerations.

AEDs and Water Resistance

AEDs are electronic devices that typically include components like batteries, circuitry, and electrodes. Most modern AEDs are designed to be moderately water-resistant, with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating that indicates their level of resistance to dust and water. A common IP rating for AEDs is IP55, which means they are protected against low-pressure water jets and dust.

However, it is essential to understand that being water-resistant does not mean AEDs are fully waterproof or submersible. Submerging an AED in water, such as a swimming pool, lake, or bathtub, is not recommended and can potentially damage the device.

Using AEDs Near Water

While you should avoid submerging an AED in water, you can and should use an AED near water when responding to a cardiac arrest emergency in aquatic environments. Here's how to use an AED near water safely:

  1. Ensure Safety: Before attempting to use an AED, ensure the safety of the rescuer and the victim. Make sure the victim is removed from the water and placed on a dry surface.
  2. Dry the Chest: Wipe the victim's chest dry with a towel or cloth, if possible, to improve electrode adhesion and prevent interference.
  3. Check for Moisture: Inspect the victim's chest area for visible moisture or water. If the chest is excessively wet, you may need to dry it further.
  4. Apply Electrodes Properly: Follow the AED's instructions for electrode placement. Ensure the electrodes adhere securely to the victim's chest.
  5. Stand Clear During Shock Delivery: When the AED analyzes the victim's heart rhythm and recommends a shock, ensure that no one, including the victim and rescuers, is touching the victim or any wet surfaces. Clear the area to avoid electrical shock hazards.
  6. Avoid Direct Contact with Water: While using the AED near water, be cautious not to allow water to come into direct contact with the device. Protect it from splashes and ensure it remains dry.
  7. Perform CPR: If the victim's heart rhythm requires it, follow the AED's prompts to deliver a shock. Afterward, continue with CPR until emergency medical services arrive.

Maintenance and Inspection

Regularly inspect and maintain your AED to ensure it functions correctly. This includes checking the device's electrodes, battery, and overall condition. If an AED has been exposed to moisture or submerged in water, it should be inspected by a certified technician to assess its functionality and safety.

In summary, while AEDs are designed to be water-resistant to a certain extent, they are not fully waterproof. It is crucial to use them near water with caution, ensuring the victim's chest is dry and that the device remains protected from direct water exposure. Proper AED use and maintenance can make a significant difference in increasing the chances of survival for someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest in or near water.

 CPR + First Aid Certification

Back to blog