The Cardiac Chain of Survival

Chain of Surval Links:

Early recognition of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
  • Collapsed and unresponsive

  • Gasping, gurgling, snorting, moaning or labored breathing

  • Seizure-like activity

Early Access to 911
  • Confirm unresponsiveness

  • Call 9-1-1 and follow emergency dispatcher’s instructions

  • Call any on-site emergency responders  

Early CPR
  • Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately
Early Defibrillation
  • Immediately retrieve and use an AED as soon as possible to restore the heart to its normal rhythm         
Early Advanced Care
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders begin advanced life support and transfer to a hospital


An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device which, when properly applied, automatically diagnoses potentially life-threatening heart rhythms including SCA. Modern AEDs are designed to be used by any motivated bystander, regardless of training. The devices advise the user about how to apply the device and whether or not to administer a shock. Some devices shock automatically if the victim has a fatal heart rhythm.

Training is important, however, particularly since almost all victims also need Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to keep the blood circulating while the AED is being mobilized and to help establish a good heart beat after the AED is used. Most of the time, the AED will advise the user to administer CPR, depending on the needs of the victim, and in these cases it is quite helpful to have CPR training. AEDs have been used successfully by police, firefighters, flight attendants, security guards and lay people.

Survival rates decrease by 10% with each minute of delayed defibrillation.

Need an AED device?

Contact your local Project ADAM Program Coordinator for support.  Our affiliate porgrams can connect you to local and national partners that offer customer service and competitive pricing on AED units.