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AED FAQS

What is an AED?

An Automated External Defibrillator is a device that delivers a life-saving shock to a heart that is in distress. The AED is a medical device that analyzes they heart’s rhythm, then advises whether or not a shock is necessary. Fully automatic AEDs will deliver the shock without requiring the user to push the button, while semi-automatic AEDs require the user to push the shock button.

AEDs from Zoll, Cardiac Science, Stryker/Physio-Control, Defibtech, Heartsine and Philips use audible and visual notifications to guide the user through a rescue. Newer AEDs can also coach a rescuer through the administration of CPR.

Is an AED easy to use?

An AED is designed to be simple and used by people with little or no training. Upon turning on the AED, it will begin coaching the user through the event using audible prompts and visual cues, such as lights on physical diagrams, or even a video screen on some AEDs like the Defibtech View and the Zoll AED 3.

Do I really need an AED?

In the United States alone, nearly 1600 lives PER DAY are lost due to no AED being readily available. Virtually anyone with a heart (most of the population) could suffer from SCA (sudden cardiac arrest). Risk is not just limited to the elderly or obese. Young, fit people with no symptoms suffer at a lower rate, but are susceptible all the same.

Is training required to use an AED?

No. However, it is encouraged. Healthcare professionals require CPR and AED training once every two years. While you can get CPR-only training, most providers recommend adding AED training.

AEDs were developed and have evolved to be used by professionals and laypeople alike. Efforts to promote awareness have proven successful in making AEDs recognizable wherever they are placed.

Where can I get trained on AED/CPR?

AED.us can coordinate training classes, which are presented locally by certified instructors. There are countless small businesses that offer training, as well as large organizations like the American Heart Association and the Red Cross.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

SCA occurs when the heart loses its electrical pulse needed to contract and circulate blood to the body and brain; a condition called ventricular fibrillation or v-fib. Death is likely within 10 minutes for someone experiencing v-fib if an AED is not available. (You will find a specific explanation of SCA in the AED.us Buyer's Guide.

Is SCA the same as a Heart Attack?

No. They are often mistakenly interchanged as the same condition, but SCA and heart attack are two very distinct events. Essentially, a heart attack is a plumbing issue, while sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical issue. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted. A heart attack may cause chest pain and other symptoms. SCA may strike without any symptoms at all. Without treatment, an SCA victim’s chances of recovery are reduced by the minute, as the brain and other organs are starved of oxygen through blood flow.

We urge you to read the detailed explanation of these two cardiac episodes in the introduction of our AED.us Buyer's Guide.

Will an AED save everyone?

No, but an AED increases the rate of SCA survival from around 5% to over 50%. An AED will not treat a non-shockable heart rhythm. However, defibrillation is the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest. Early treatment is key. After ten minutes without defibrillation or CPR, the victim’s chances for survival diminish significantly.

Why is CPR so important?

CPR gives one a fighting chance of surviving cardiac arrest while an AED is being retrieved and before an ambulance arrives. CPR mimics the heart’s pumping of oxygenated blood to the body and brain and is a critical link in the chain of survival. The American Heart Association amends CPR guidelines every few years, but the focus on CPR during an SCA rescue continues to increase. For example, there are many that advocate the use of hand-only CPR, which instructs only chest compressions without the two breaths.

Can an AED be used on a Child?

Yes. An AED is designed to introduce a lower dose shock when it is utilized on a child or infant. Some AEDs have separate pediatric pads, while others may adjust using a key (like the Philips FRx). Most manufacturer guidelines set the size cutoff at 65 pounds for pediatric defibrillation.

Some newer AEDs, like the Stryker/Physio-Control CR2 and the Zoll AED 3, simply have a toggle switch, which lowers the joule output to be appropriate for a child/infant. This eliminates the need to purchase or track expiration dates for a separate pediatric electrode.

Do I need a special electrode pad for children?

Yes (and no). Unless you have a Stryker/Physio-Control CR2 or a Philips FRx WITH a pediatric key, you will need a separate set of pads.

What laws does my State have regarding AEDs?

While no one has been sued for using an AED, there are requirements for certain aspects of AED programs. All states have a Good Samaritan statute designed to encourage bystanders to act quickly and not hesitate. However, states may differ in their laws’ details. AED.US' AED Legislation page has a resource for you to cross reference your state's Good Samaritan statute and determine other AED Guidelines specific for your state.

Do I need a prescription to purchase an AED?

Most AEDs require a prescription. Only one AED has been approved for sale without a prescription: the Philips Onsite.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates AEDs as Class III medical devices, so a prescription is required. When you acquire an AED through AED.US, a prescription is issued which meets the medical authorization required by the FDA.

What is Medical Direction?

Some states require a physician's oversight or medical direction for your AED plan. The medical director will review policies, training, and make certain state guidelines are followed. AED.US offers MyAED Management Program to assist you with this important component of your AED Program.

What is Program Management?

Program management is very important and, in some states, required. This oversight ensures that AEDs are ready to use in an emergency. Tracking expiration dates for pads and batteries and reminding the correct personnel can prevent errors occurring that can have serious consequences.

We have mentioned some of the components of an effective AED Program: Medical Direction, Maintenance, Training, Policies and Procedures. AED Program Management is how you track and manage all the components of your AED Program. The MyAED Program Management software is recommended and invaluable in helping you optimize your AED Program.

How do I decide which AED is the best for me?

AED.us offers both new and used devices from all manufacturers. We strongly urge you to consider devices with enhanced capabilities, like CPR feedback, which optimize the chances of survival. Not all customers have the same needs. Some may need a small, light weight AED, while others may need something more rugged. Regardless of your needs, AED.us have you covered.

We all work within budget guidelines, which is why AED.US offers device rental and our Encore Series of refurbished AEDs with a 4-year warranty. The AED.US Buyer's Guide provides an overview of all our devices and your buying, renting, and leasing options.

How do I know if my business needs an AED?

Short answer: It does. Every business should have an AED within a one-minute brisk walk or run of any spot in their building or parking lot. SCA is the number one killer in the U.S. workplace. It can be attributed to more workplace deaths than ALL other causes combined.

Why is my AED making noises?

All AEDs run periodic self-tests. The frequency of these tests varies, but it is at least weekly. Some AEDs, like the Cardiac Science G3 and G5, test both the level of battery life, and whether the pads are expired or if the gel is ready. Other AEDs may only test the battery life. In addition to checking these accessories, the AED also runs through its designated internal tests.

If any of these tests are not passed, the AED will notify you by beeping/chirping frequently. By turning the AED on, it will produce an audible explanation of what requires attention. Also, turning the AED on at any time will force a self-test.

For any questions, do not delay in reaching out to us by phone or at support@aed.us.

How many times can I use the AED electrode pads?

Once. Pads must be replaced after each use. It is also recommended to have an extra set of pads in case you have multiple events or pads are damaged during the rescue process.

How will I know when to replace the electrode pads?

The pads package will have an expiration date clearly visible. If you are utilizing MyAED program software, your AED electrodes and battery are being tracked and you will be notified when time to replace. This is an important part of managing your AED. Ultimately, you are responsible for ensuring your AED is ready to use. Choosing a management program that includes medical direction can ensure you are compliant.

Why do AED electrode pads expire?

AED pads have a water-based gel which is critical in maintaining tight adherence to the patient’s chest. This gel will lose moisture over time and needs to be replaced. Electrode pads have a shelf life of 18 to 60 months, depending on manufacturer and model.

How will I know when to replace the battery?

All AEDs include a battery status check in their self-test. Generally, a battery will begin to notify you when the capacity declines to 20%, which is still enough for several shocks.

Do I leave my battery installed in the AED at all times?

Absolutely. The only time you should remove the battery is when you are replacing it. Without the battery installed, scheduled self-tests cannot be completed and the unit will not monitor the battery’s level.

Is there any maintenance required?

The AED battery and electrode pads are items that eventually will need replacing. Batteries can last 60 months or more and electrode pads 18-60 months depending on the model. However,

all devices are different and you should confirm expiration dates on all disposables. All devices distributed by AED.US have audible "chirps" that call attention to the device when it needs to be serviced, and all AEDs have visual indicators that show you the status of the AED.

Currently, there is no regular maintenance or calibration required.

I see a date on my AED battery, is that the expiration?

No. The date on an AED battery is the manufacturer’s recommended installation date. The battery should be placed in the AED by that date. After the battery is installed it will have up to five years of use. Again, each AED varies, so consult with your user guide to be certain. The battery will also be affected by other factors, like temperature and usage.

Do I throw my old battery away?

No. Batteries should be taken to a community recycling center or AED.US can properly dispose of them at no charge.

Does my AED have the most current software?

Each device from AED.US is up to date with the latest software for that device. Every five years, the American Heart Association issues their evaluation and possible changes to CPR guidelines. The next report from the AHA will be in 2020. All future software updates will be available through MyAED.US FREE of charge.

What is the difference between an AED and a Manual Defibrillator?

Automated External Defibrillators do not require a professional operator. The AED diagnoses the heart rhythm and determines if a shock is needed. Manual defibrillators are what you would find in an ambulance or hospital where trained paramedics, physicians or other medical professionals can analyze and diagnose. Most manual defibrillators have an AED function on them, in addition to several other features, like pacing, SpO2, NiBP, EtCO2, CO and 12-lead.

Will insurance cover the purchase of an AED?

In most cases, no. But if you or a loved one have a condition which puts you at a higher risk of cardiac arrest, you should discuss this with your healthcare insurance provider. In such cases, many insurance policies will indeed cover the cost for an AED where prescribed by a physician.

AED.us donates over 75 AEDs each year to worthy recipients that may not be able to afford them otherwise. Please visit our donations page to enter your organization for a chance to win.

How do I order an AED?

When you have decided what you want, you can add the product to the electronic shopping cart and proceed to checkout. If you have questions, you can reach out to our experts at 888-652-1882, or send us a brief email and we will respond as soon as possible.

What forms of payment can I use to buy an AED?

AED.us accepts all major credit cards, checks, wire transfers and purchase orders (from qualified buyers). We also have rental and lease-to-own options.

When my AED order arrives, will it be ready to use?

On the Encore Series AEDs, yes. Both the battery and electrodes will be installed and ready to use. On new AEDs, AED.us ships devices as they come from the manufacturer. You will need to install the battery and pads once your package arrives. Once the battery is inserted the AED will do some self-diagnostic tests and within a few seconds, you and your AED are prepared to save a life!

If you would like the battery and pads to be installed on your new AED, please let us know and we will be happy to oblige.

Do I need a Wall Cabinet or Wall Bracket for my AED?

Your AED should be clearly visible and quickly accessible. A cabinet or bracket is often the best way to facilitate this. AED.us carries a full line of original manufacturer AED cabinets and wall brackets, as well as our own Private Label AED cabinets. Just ask us for direction and we will find the best solution for your particular situation.

Can I lock my AED cabinet?

You can install cabinets with locks if you feel locking your AED cabinet is needed to prevent theft. Your AED Program response protocol must be to ALWAYS have someone with a key within a one-minute brisk walk or run to the AED cabinet. We encourage you to consider all scenarios when making this decision. Is your First Aid Kit or your fire extinguisher under lock and key? Call our experts if you are still struggling with this decision, but having an AED that is NOT accessible when needed is worse than having no AED at all.

What do I do after using my AED in a rescue?

Let us know right away! We want to hear your story. You can call or email, but you can also go to MyAED.US and click the “events and reports” tab to complete a Deployment Case Log. It is very important to track incidents and record the event data.

Any AED.us customers receive FREE loaner AEDs whenever they need to download an event.

Who are the best people to speak to about all things AED?

WE ARE!!! Having a combined experience of over 100 years selling AEDs, with over 100,000 sold worldwide, AED.us’ knowledgeable staff are ready to answer any questions you may have. We are trained, experienced, and passionate about AEDs!!!

We also recommend speaking to your local Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement. They have done their homework and use these devices daily.

We are AED.us...Our Mission, Our Passion, Our Duty is to Forge Stronger Links in the Chain of Survival.

What does AED stand for?

Automated External Defibrillator.

Should I purchase a second set of pads/electrodes?

AED.us recommends having two sets of pads/electrodes in case the pads are damaged or you have more than one event before you can reorder. This is not required, but is recommended. Some new AEDs, like the Zoll AED Plus (with Stat Padz II) and The Cardiac Science G3 and G5 (not included with iCPR), come with two sets of pads/electrodes when purchased new.