Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

First Aid & Emergencies

Font Size

How to Operate an Automated External Defibrillator

Call 911 if:

  • The person may be having sudden cardiac arrest.

1. Check Responsiveness

  • For an adult or older child, shout and shake the person to confirm consciousness. Do not use AED on a conscious person.
  • For an infant or young child, pinch skin. Never shake a young child.
  • Check breathing and pulse. If absent or irregular, prepare to use AED as soon as possible.

2. Prepare to Use AED

  • Make sure the person is in a dry area and away from puddles or water.
  • Check for body piercings or outline of an implanted medical device, such as a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator.
  • AED pads must be placed at least 1 inch away from piercings or implanted devices.

3. Use AED

For newborns, infants, and children up to age 8, use a pediatric AED, if possible. If not, use an adult AED.

  • Turn on the AED.
  • Wipe chest dry.
  • Attach pads.
  • Plug in connector, if necessary.
  • Make sure no one is touching the person.
  • Push “Analyze” button.
  • If a shock is advised, check again to make sure no one is touching the person.
  • Push “Shock” button.
  • Start or resume chest compressions.
  • For an adult, see The Importance of CPR for information about giving CPR.
  • For a child, see CPR for Children.
  • Follow AED prompts.

4. Continue CPR After Using AED

  • After 2 minutes of CPR, check the person’s heart rhythm. If it’s still absent or irregular, give another shock.
  • If a shock isn’t needed, continue CPR until emergency help arrives or the person begins to move.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 31, 2013

First Aid A-Z

  • There are no topics that begin with 'O'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Q'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'U'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'X'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Y'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Z'

Today on WebMD

Antibiotic on hand
3d scan of fractured skull
Father putting ointment on boy's face
Person taking food from oven
sniffling child
wound care true or false
caring for wounds
Harvest mite

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

WebMD the app

Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

Find Out More