What Is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) & How Can I Buy One?
What is an AED and What is it Used For?
Automated External Defibrillators, also known as an AED, is a device that non-medical personnel can use to administer electrical shocks to someone experiencing a heart attack. When someone goes into cardiac arrest or their heart stops beating, AEDs should be used within the first 2-3 minutes for it to be most effective to save someone's life.
Before automatic defibrillators were made available to the public, you would have to wait for a paramedic to come with a manual defibrillator and by that time, it may not be as effective. AEDs have given people experiencing heart attacks a better chance of receiving help from a heart attack before an ambulance is able to arrive at a scene. Most modern day defibrillators are small, portable, and easy to use. For patients at higher risk for sudden cardiac arrest, there is an AED called the Zoll Life Vest wearable defibrillator that constantly monitors heart patterns and activity. AEDs have come a long way and have been more technologically developed compared when the first AED came out. The Defibtech Lifeline is the only AED with color and full motion video.
Other Types of Defibrillators (Not Just AEDS)
There many different types of defibrillators such as:
AEDs are the only type of defibrillator that are made available for the public to use. The other types of defibrillators listed above are not common, and are mostly found in hospitals or medical facilities used by professionals.
- Automated external defibrillator (AED)
- Manual external defibrillator
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
- Manual internal defibrillator
- Wearable cardiac defibrillator
Where Are AEDs Required?
Depending on US state laws, it is required to have an AED machine readily available onsite in public buildings, schools, long term care facilities, airports, grocery stores, shopping centers, gyms/health clubs, and other public places. Unlike the United States, Canada does not have laws that require AEDs.
If you have a prescription from your doctor, you can own an AED and it can be used in your home as well.
Most AEDs are located in a visible and accessible area, mounted on the wall, or in a cabinet like the Philips Steel Wall Mounted Cabinet Wall with Alarm (Product #989803136531).
Can Anyone Use an AED?
It is recommended that you become trained and certified to use an AED device or that medical personnel are the ones to use the devices. In case of an emergency, if you use the device in good faith and follow the instructions, you will not be liable for any damages in accordance to the “Good Samaritan Laws.” It should be noted that there are 2 different sizes of electrodes to be used on an adult vs a child so you use the correct shockwave intensity.
Some AEDs, like the Phillips HeartStart give you audio commands or voice instructions to go through the process of using the device so it’s easier to follow clear instructions.
Who Can Buy an AED Defibrillator?
It is okay for anyone to own a defibrillator, but to obtain one, you must buy it legally. There are a few things you will need to be able to buy an AED including: a prescription from your physician, medical instruction so you know how to use it, registration for your AED, and ongoing maintenance for your device.
Where Can I Buy an Auto External Defibrillator?
The best place to buy a defibrillator is online or through an AED Authorized Dealer Distributor. AEDs are regulated and approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Before you buy an AED, consider where you are going to have your AED and what features you will need. Also, consider how much money it will be for maintenance for your device and get replacement parts.
There are a few major brands/manufacturers of AEDs all with various models and features:
Depending on which AED you have, some cost more to own and maintain then others. To maintain your defibrillator, you will need to service and inspect the device regularly. Make sure to replace the pads/electrodes so they aren’t expired, check that the battery is installed properly, make sure the service indicator light is working, include other rescue supplies alongside your AED (defibrillator gel, gloves, etc.), and ensure there is no damage to the device. To pick the best device, make sure you read defibrillator reviews online.
- Physio Control (Medtronic)
- Cardiac Science
How Much Do AEDs Cost?
Depending on the brand, model, and features of the device most AEDs cost between $1,500 and $2,000. However, if you buy a more advanced machine it can cost closer to $4,000.
If you need multiple AEDs, you can buy them in bulk online from a certified dealer.
To save money and get the cheapest option, most people think to buy pre-owned or refurbished products, but with AEDs it may not be the best decision. The FDA required AED sellers to have PMA or “Pre-Market Approval.” If your machine is an older or discontinued model, it most likely did not go through the PMA process. It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your older device, you just can’t resell it as a refurbished or pre-owned device. If you can no longer get replacement parts for your device it can no longer be used when the current parts expire.
Portable Defibrillators: When Seconds Count
Even for medical professionals, an AED machine can be an invaluable tool; many hospitals even have portable defibrillators on hand. This is because sudden cardiac arrest can occur at any time and to anyone, including children and people who are in excellent health. Because of their light, portable designs, AED machines allow anyone to perform life-saving measures wherever they are placed. And because they can be placed in wall cabinets, they are unobtrusive but easily accessible.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart fibrillates, meaning that the rhythm of heart has been disrupted and is beating in an uncontrollable, chaotic way. The victim will lose consciousness very quickly and death will occur if the person is not treated right away. The heart will begin to die at the rate of 10 percent per minute, which means that death can occur in as few as ten minutes! Permanent brain damage can occur in five minutes, and every second thereafter, the chances of brain damage increase. Having a portable defibrillator available to first responders gives them a huge advantage in not only saving the life of an SCA victim, but also determining whether or not that life will continue normally, or if it will be impaired by neurological problems or, tragically, in a vegetative state.
One thing to keep in mind is that sudden cardiac arrest episodes and heart attacks are not the same thing. A heart attack can trigger an SCA, but not the other way around. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle is interrupted by a blockage in an artery or arteries. Learning the difference is vital, because a person suffering from cardiac arrest literally has only minutes to live. That’s why having a portable defibrillator in a strategic, highly visible place in locations where large numbers of people congregate is a good idea. The peace of mind that comes to those who own or lease those buildings, as well as to those who frequent them, cannot be measured. Knowing that basic life support measures can be taken by a trained AED first responder can increase the comfort level of the businesses that occupy these locations by potentially decreasing their medical liability issues.
AED Machines: Federal Law & Grants
In the year 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, which is now Public Law 106-505, regarding the placement of automated external defibrillators in federal buildings. In 2002, President George Bush signed into law the Community Access to Emergency Devices Act, which authorizes federal grants to states and localities that apply to purchase and place AED units in places where the public is likely to gather. These grants can also be used to train first responders on the use of AED devices and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The law also encourages private companies to purchase automated defibrillators and to train their employees in external defibrillator and CPR procedures. These laws will protect those acting in good faith, as a Good Samaritan, building owner or renter, from unfair lawsuits that may arise from the purchase or use of an AED machine to save a person’s life during sudden cardiac arrest.
AEDbrands.com prides itself on offering the best automated external defibrillators the market has to offer. Brands such as Philips
, Cardiac Science
and Physio Control (formerly Medtronic)are included, along with many others. We also carry AED supplies, wall signs and decals; plus, we offer package specials to businesses, schools and public safety departments. Our products are FDA approved, and we are a member of the Better Business Bureau.
For more information on AED machines or applicable accessories, call or e-mail us today. We have a large selection of products available to fully outfit your facility, and offer leasing and purchasing options. We are an authorized dealer of all major AED devices and accessories and we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as free shipping.