Introduction. Chances for survival of a patient who has suffered from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) depend on a number of factors. One of the most important however, is the time within which the patient is provided with actions to restore normal heart function. In the Guidelines for Resuscitation 2015, The European Resuscitation Council states that defibrillation done within 3-5 minutes since a patient with SCA lost his/her consciousness can increase the survival rate up to 50-70%. However, such a short time of providing help is only achievable through the implementation of universal defibrillation programs and the automatic external defibrillator (AED) devices densely distributed in public places. By contrast, every minute of delay in defibrillation reduces the probability of survival by approximately 10-12% until the hospital discharge.
Aim. The purpose of the research was to elicit the opinions of adult respondents on first aid and the use of automatic external defibrillator (AED).
Material and methods. The research method used in this paper was a diagnostic survey, the technique was a web-based questionnaire, and a research tool was the authors’ own questionnaire survey. The survey was active between April 8, 2016 and May 20, 2016. During this time, 116 opinions were collected.
Results. As many as 77% of respondents declared that they had attended a first aid course, but 21% of them stated that they no longer remembered the knowledge acquired. The number of 63% of respondents did not know what an automatic external defibrillator is. Only 27% of respondents knew that AEDs are public devices, and only 47% believed that using an AED would not worsen the health of the victim.
Conclusions. The availability of AEDs and knowledge of their use are insufficient. Low social awareness and irrational fear of using an AED (fear of deterioration of the victim’s health) support the need for continuing education in this area.