AED Information from EMS Safety
An AED (automated external defibrillator) is critical to saving the life of a victim in Sudden Cardiac Arrest. If you’re interested in purchasing an AED, we can help you sift through the information and choose the right AED for your needs.
We offer a true turnkey AED solution including:
- Two brands of AEDs
- Medical oversight
- AED Training
Contact EMS Safety at (800) 215-9555 with any questions or to begin your AED purchase.
The bottom line is that when AED use is combined with effective CPR, many more lives are saved than with CPR alone. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs over 200,000 times in America every year, approximately 23 times every hour. It's estimated by the American Heart Association that over 50,000 lives a year could be saved by the early use of an AED combined with prompt bystander CPR.
Studies have shown that immediate use of an AED can increase a victim's chance of survival from about 5% to between 50 and 74%! The SCA victim's odds for survival increase when the cardiac chain of survival is initiated quickly:
- Early 911
- Early & effective CPR
- Early use of an AED
- Early advanced care
Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) is a lethal heart rhythm in which the heart is quivering, not pumping. It is present in 90% of SCA cases. CPR helps keep the brain and heart alive by supplying them with oxygenated blood, but does not restore a normal heartbeat. If VF is not corrected, the patient will die.
Defibrillation is the only treatment to stop VF and restore a normal heart rhythm. It is most successful when performed less than three minutes after the onset of SCA. AEDs are used by lay providers in the critical moments after the onset of SCA and before the arrival of paramedics.
Widespread AED placement in public gathering places, combined with training and oversight, give the best chance for survival of SCA. Consider AED placing an AED at work, school, sporting events, golf courses, public transportation hubs, shopping malls, concert halls, and any public gathering place. Many people have AEDs on their boat, in their motor home, or even at home!
What Does the AED Do?
The AED is an automated device that provides a lifesaving shock to correct VF and restore the heart to a normal rhythm. Voice and text prompts guide the rescuer on how to place the pads and when to shock. AEDs often provide CPR instructions and compression timing prompts.
When the AED is turned on and the pads are attached, it quickly analyzes the heart rhythm. If a shockable rhythm is detected, the AED tells the user to stand clear and press the shock button. Some AEDs will shock automatically without the push of a button.
The AED runs a powerful current from one pad, through the heart to the other pad, and back. The current resets the heart into a normal rhythm. Think of it as a reboot for the heart. Sometimes it may take more than one shock to restore a normal rhythm. As more time passes without a shock, the chance of successful defibrillation decreases significantly.
CPR is performed between each shock to provide oxygen to the brain to keep it alive, and to the heart to make it more responsive to the next shock.
AED Laws and Regulations
The AED is a medical device that falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AED manufacturers must have their AEDs FDA approved, and are required to maintain production standards and current protocols for the AEDs they release.
AED owners and operators must be aware of state and local laws and regulations regarding AED use. Most regulations pertain to AED medical oversight, AED maintenance, and AED training requirements. For more information on your state and local AED regulations, contact your local or state Emergency Medical Services Authority.
Oversight, Medical Direction and AED Maintenancespan
State and local regulations require the AED owner to have oversight of the AEDs in the form of physician-level medical direction and regular AED maintenance. Regular AED maintenance means checking the AED for readiness:
- The battery is charged.
- The pads are not expired.
- The AED and its accessories are in good condition.
AED owners are required to track the AED maintenance checks, problems and fixes, and training records.
A physician-level Medical Director and physician prescription are required by state law to purchase most AED models. The Medical Director can help with AED selection, training approval, development of policy and procedure, AED deployment, and AED event review. EMS Safety can help you with this requirement.
EMS Safety offers several medical direction programs. Contact us for more information.
AEDs rarely fail. If an AED does fail, it is usually due to a lack of AED oversight and regular AED maintenance, such as battery and pad replacement. In other words, human error causes most failures, not AED malfunction.
Certified AED Training for AED users is often required by state law. Training helps the bystander understand how to recognize cardiac arrest, when to call for the defibrillator, when and how to perform effective CPR, and how to use the AED safely and quickly. Update your training regularly, because AED protocols and guidelines change periodically.
AED Training records must be kept on file by the organization that owns the AED. Training should cover both AED use and CPR, because they are used together to save a life. State regulations require training to remain current; expired training creates liability.
EMS Safety provides AED training through our network of certified Instructors. Use our Locate an Instructor feature to find a certified Instructor near you. Contact EMS Safety if you want to become an AED Instructor.
AED Policy and Procedure
Federal & state law requires you to have a complete AED policy and procedure (P&P) manual. An AED P&P helps you to:
- Develop an internal response system.
- Provide swift response times.
- Establish training and re-training procedures.
- Determine the location and number of AEDs.
- Identify trained responders and a Medical Director.
- Establish an AED maintenance schedule.
- Set up AED management protocols.
- Notify your local EMS agency of the type and location of your AED(s).
- Promote an AED response culture.
Your AED Medical Director should be instrumental in the development of your AED P&P manual. If you don't have a Medical Director, most AED manufacturers and vendors can provide you with a template for an AED P&P manual. They also sell medical direction packages that include oversight and the AED P&P.
Contact EMS Safety for a sample AED P&P manual.
How many AEDs do we need?
The most significant factor in successful defibrillation is the time between SCA and the delivery of the first AED shock. Shorter times between cardiac arrest and AED shock increase the odds for survival. Studies have shown that the odds for surviving SCA decrease 7-10% with every minute that passes without a shock!
An AED should ideally be used within three minutes of SCA. The AED should be mounted in a visible area, easily accessed by trained rescuers, and near a phone. Meeting the goal of three minutes from 'down to shock time' can be done with a simple site assessment.
It's also important to consider barriers that can slow response times, such as multiple buildings spread over a large property, outdoor response areas, and vertical response times (e.g. elevators, stairs and high rises). Download our article, AED Placement - Where & How Many? for information on assessing your site to determine how many AEDs are best for your organization. Contact EMS Safety for more detailed site assessment instructions.
AEDs from EMS Safety: A Turnkey Solution
EMS Safety retails quality AEDs at excellent prices. We take the time to answer the questions that other retailers don't.
EMS Safety has everything you need to implement your AED program. We believe in customer service and, unlike some of our competitors, we will be there for you beyond your AED purchase. Our AED Turnkey Solution includes:
- Site assessment and planning instructions
- Many AED models to choose from to fit your individual needs and budget
- AED Instructor certification to train in-house
- AED provider training with one of our local Instructors for initial and ongoing AED/CPR/First Aid certification
- Multiple AED medical direction packages to meet your needs
- AED Policies & Procedures
- Restocking supplies for your AED, CPR and First Aid responders
- Event review
For more information on setting up an in-house AED program, download our white paper, 10 Steps to an In-house AED Program.