Who Should Buy an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Where Do You Start?

Which AED is best suited for my environment and budget?

Symbol of heart amongst question marks

First, the great news – every AED, regardless of price, does what it is designed to do – save lives. An AED is not an impulse item, it is a medical device. A simple and safe medical device, but a medical device nonetheless. If you are considering purchasing an AED, here are a few questions to help you determine if this is the right decision:

Business Owners

  1. Is the safety of your customers, staff and/or clients important to you?
  2. Do you own a business that sees a wide cross-section of the population come through its doors on a regular basis?
  3. Are your customers, staff or clients at a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest? For example:
    1. Elderly
    2. Compromised Health (health-oriented business)
    3. Physical strain (fitness-oriented business)
    4. Are you required by state laws to have an AED at your facility due to the nature of your business?
    5. Please keep in mind sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, regardless of age, gender, or physical fitness
  4. Are you able to commit the time and resources (approximately 5-10 minutes a month) to maintain the AED according to the manufacturer’s recommendations?

Home Use

  • Have you or a member of your household been diagnosed with a heart-related condition or suffered previous heart-related events?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to consider purchasing an AED. There are six major manufacturers of FDA-cleared AEDs, with prices ranging anywhere from $1,100 to $2,500 for the device and all the supplies and accessories needed to implement an AED program. So which one should you choose? The answer depends on a number of significant factors:

  1. Environment –
    • Indoor/Office settings – carpeted floors, dry, stationary storage
      • Ruggedness is not a factor, so a lower-priced AEDs is a safe choice.
      • Choose a package that includes a well-marked cabinet.
      • If children are regular visitors, consider a unit with easy pediatric options.
    • School – variances in flooring materials, dry, stationary storage with some potential for more handling
      • Consider a unit with easy pediatric options.
      • Ruggedness is a factor due to flooring and the fact a young person may be carrying.
      • Choose a package that includes a well-marked cabinet.
      • Make sure you have enough devices throughout the school so there is always a unit within 3-5 minutes of any potential cardiac event.
      • Consider an additional unit to be taken to sporting events and/or field trips – choose a rugged carry case for transport of the device.
    • Warehouses/factories – concrete floors, variances in temperature/humidity, stationary storage
      • Ruggedness is a factor due to flooring and temperature variances – choose a sturdy unit with a higher IP rating.
      • Choose a package with a well-marked cabinet or bracket – consider adding alarms or strobes for the cabinet to alert bystanders of its removal from storage.
    • Outdoors/Sports – variances in weather and surfaces, may be moved on a regular basis
      • Ruggedness is a factor due to changes in surfaces and weather – choose a sturdy unit with a higher IP rating.
      • Choose a package with either an outdoor-rated cabinet for stationary storage or a sturdy watertight carry case for moving from sporting event to sporting event.
      • If using for youth sports, consider a unit with easy pediatric options.
    • Vehicles – variances in temperature/humidity and potential for extensive handling/moving of device
      • Ruggedness is a factor due to changes in surfaces and weather – choose a sturdy unit with a higher IP rating.
      • If there is potential for pediatric use (first responder vehicles), consider a unit with easy pediatric options.
      • Consider a sturdy, watertight carry case.
  2. Potential Users –
    • General Public – will the device be available to anyone at any time?
      • All AEDs use voice and visual prompts to walk a user through the rescue.
      • Consider a fully-automated device which does not require pushing the shock button if a shock is advised.
      • Consider a device with CPR feedback (either to the rate or to the depth of the CPR) to ensure quality CPR.
      • Is language a factor?  Several manufacturers offer alternate language options.
    • Trained Staff – will the device be accessible only to trained staff?
      • Fully-automated or semi-automatic is at the discretion of the purchaser.
      • Consider a unit that converts to its own trainer, or purchase a separate training device specific to the AED owned.
    • One user only – is there only one person who would be using the device? (Home use)
      • Choose the device easiest to handle and use with regard to weight, size and available features.
      • Ask your doctor to recommend a device that fits your budget.
      • If you live alone and spend most of your time alone, having an AED is probably not a wise choice as there will be no one to use it should you go into cardiac arrest.

Whether you are considering purchasing an AED because it is required by law or simply because you recognize the importance of these safe, simple devices and want to take that extra step to ensure the safety of those who may need it, take a few moments to think about where it will be and who may use it. Call us here at the AED Superstore with your answers to these questions and we can help you determine which AED would best fit your business, and your budget! Call 1-800-544-0048, or email [email protected]. We are happy to work with you!

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