Can you use a defibrillator on a metal surface?

CPR TrainingA defibrillator, or AED (automated external defibrillator), is a life-saving device which delivers an electrical shock to the heart during a cardiac arrest.

There are many myths about using a defibrillator. Many people believe that you can’t use a defibrillator in any situation where the electrical shock might be transmitted.

It is perfectly safe to use a defibrillator on a metal surface – providing the pads have been applied correctly and the chest is dry there is minimal risk.

Modern defibrillators modify the shock provided to the patient depending on their electrical resistance (ie, how big / small / fat / thin they are) so the shock delivered is not excessive.

Want to test your knowledge of using a defibrillator? Have a go at our defibrillator practice exam!

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1 Response

  1. Mike Jones says:

    I have witnessed two bystanders shocked from AED’s delivering defib. One was on metal grating, other on side of pool kneeling in water. Electricity will seek easiest path to ground and JUST in case pads are not in great contact, there risk of shock is there.

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