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How Do You Select An Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

How Do You Select An Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?


There are at least seven manufacturers of AEDs and over 20 different models of AEDs. How do you chose the right defibrillator?

A good start is to ask yourself the questions on our page "How to Select an AED". Often we hear "We just want a basic model that is the cheapest price". Do you really want to depend the cheapest devise to save your life or a family member? Many people will also tell you they are all the same. Just like cars, AEDs vary greatly in features and benefits. Compare not only the initial costs but the on-going cost of ownership. Download the AED cost comparison of all the major brands of AEDs.

AED Information

1) Think about how the AED will be used and where it will be kept is the first step.   

Will the AED be located indoors in an office building, church or gym? Or will yours be outside such as on a football field, or stored in the trunk of a police vehicle? Some AEDs, such as the Philips FRx, are designed to withstand an1100 pound crush test and have an IP rating of IP55 designed for high dust and dirt ratings, and a stream of water.  

2)  Who will use it?  

Lay responders who may or may not have had training, or personnel who have had a CPR/AED training course or professional responders such as Fire/EMS or medical personnel.  If you have lay responders or people with minimal training you will want a model that is EASY to use, and has CPR Coaching.  If it is a professional, you may want a unit with manual defibrillation and an ECG display.  Philips FRx, and OnSite AEDs are both easy to use and have optional CPR coaching for both adult and children with the touch of a button.  Others such as the Zoll AED only give Adult CPR coaching with the Z pad and not for children.

3)  Are there children less than 8 years of age such as a church, school or pool?  

Facilities where children play sports, such as church, athletic fields or school gyms, where they could be hit in the chest will a ball, should have pediatric pads. It is highly recommended that swimming pools and beach condos have an AED readily accessible equipped with pediatric pads where a child could possibly drown. The best solution would be an AED with either pediatric pads or a pediatric key to step the energy level down to that safe for children. Adults generally receive a shock of 150 Joules or higher; children need 50 Joules or less.  New units can change from adults to children with the touch of a button, eliminating the need for separate pads.

AED Storage
4) Where will the AED be stored? Inside or out? In a cabinet or wall mount? 
Does it need to be completely waterproof?  Hot or cold issues?  AEDs have batteries in them that generally like temperatures between 32 and 110 degrees. AEDs may be kept in a car or outside, but don't mount them in direct sun, if possible. Extended high temperatures, shortens the battery life and can possibly ruin the unit. Also if you keep them outside, especially in rainy places such as Florida, put them in a waterproof cabinet and preferably under an awning with some protection. Pelican cases can keep them dry too, but it requires you to open the case to see if the battery is working. AEDs will chirp if stored outside their temperature range. Some units such as Defibtech will require you to clear out a code if stored outside the temperature range.
5)  How secure is the area the AED will be stored? 
Most AEDs stored inside are fine if located in a wall cabinet with alarm on it. They have an audible alarm that sounds that keeps curious people from playing with them. In over 5,000 AEDs we've sold, less than a dozen have disappeared. DO NOT LOCK an AED in a cabinet or office where people cannot get to it if needed. For additional security, you can get an AED cabinet with alarm and security connect or have your security company put a wi-fi transmitter to your security panel. Locate the AED under video surveillance cameras if concerned.With the answers to the questions above in mind, evaluate the AED manufacturer and AED you are considering.

Manufacturer Questions
1)  How reputable and reliable is the company?  
A company that invests heavily in Research and Development and has a reputation as the best in the industry is always a good idea. Some AED manufacturers have gone out of business or no longer can supply batteries or pads. 
2)  How does the AED need to be maintained?  
All AEDs will require checking the status indicator to tell if the battery is working and checking that the pads are in date and all the supplies are with the AED. Most AEDs will need pads replaced every two years (except Zoll Z pads every 5 and the CR2 every 4 years) and batteries every 4 years (except Physio-Control CR Plus every two years and Zoll three to five years or more often depending on the frequency set for the self tests). Then there are differences in the frequency of the checks and how the units do their self tests.Some manufacturers operating instructions state to check the status indicator DAILY. Others have weekly, or monthly or require PERIODIC checks of status indicators. Do you really want to have to check an AED DAILY to comply with manufacturers requirements? Cardiac Science Powerheart®  G3 for example states to "Check the Status Indicator Daily". Zoll AED Plus says "Inspect frequently, as necessary", Philips FRx and OnSite AEDs say to "Check the green status indicator periodically".
3) Which self tests do the units do and how do you know the AED is working?  
Each AED manufacturer has different protocols for the self tests. Philips does daily (pads, gel moisture, battery) weekly circuitry, and monthly loads up a full 150 Joule charge.  Physio Control CR Plus does a weekly self test and only tests to 2 Joules.  Cardiac Science G3 does daily (pads, pads integrity, battery) and monthly a full 300 Joule charge.  Zoll does weekly self tests - only recent models test to full 200 Joules; earlier models test to 2 Joules.  They do daily pad tests to check for connectivity, but not usability.
Some new units have built in daily monitoring.   Philips OnSite and FRx have optional SmartLink transmitters which will monitor if the AED passes its self test every day and email or text if there is a failure.  The new Physio CR2 has built in Wi-Fi to transmit if the AED fails a self test.  The new Zoll AED3 also has WiFi capabilities.
4)  What is the initial cost and annual cost of operation or cost per use? This is one of the areas often overlooked.  The initial cost of some units is lower (for example HeartSine), but the replacement costs, especially if pediatric pads are required is higher.  Philips FRx AED and Physio Control CR Plus AED have some of the lowest on going costs of operation.  Log on to our website and compare costs.
5)  Are there any other considerations and warnings that the manufacturers have with their units?  
Some say to keep cell phones and radios away from the AED as it will interfere with analysis.  If you are a manufacturing company, or law enforcement or many other users that is a concern.  Others say not to use on metal surfaces or wet environments.  Again if you want the AED for the pool, athletic stadium, or manufacturing environment, or for a vehicle, we don't recommend those units.  We hope that the discussion above helps you evaluate which AED is right for you and your application.  No they are not all the same, and  cheapest isn't always the right decision.  We would be happy to help you chose an AED. Please call us 1-866-777-8555 or complete the  AED Selection Tool on our website for a free no obligation recommendation. 



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