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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Defibrillators



The Complete Guide to
AED Automated External Defibrillators

Thursday, October 6, 2005  10:58 p.m.

What is a Defibrillator?

A defibrillator is a machine which is used to administer an electric shock to the heart in order to reestablish a normal heart rhythm.


It is commonly referred to as an AED but sometimes referred to as an Automated External Defibrillator or Automatic External Defibrillator.

Are Defibrillators Difficult to Use?

Not at all.  In fact, defibrillators are quite simple to use.Defibrillators

When you open the machine there is a diagram explaining where to place each of the two pads on the torso of the victim.  There is also a voice programmed into the defibrillator unit which will explain exactly what needs to be done.  You will not be administering the shock.  The defibrillator will make the determination as to whether a shock should be administered. 

Are Defibrillators Dangerous?

The only point where the defibrillator can be dangerous is when a shock is being administered.  The machine, however, will give advance warning before the shock is given and instruct users to "clear." 

There are warnings that come with each unit which should be reviewed prior to use.

Defibrillators Training?

Many local first aid squads will provide training as well as other commercial businesses in the medical field.  Also, the American Heart Association has defibrillator training if a branch is close to you.

You should couple defibrillator training up with a CPR course as CPR training is also highly recommended before administering first aid to a potential heart attack victim.

Should I Purchase a Defibrillator for my Home or Business?

Absolutely.  Most police departments now have AED defibrillator machines in the patrol cars.  Additionally, defibrillators are showing up at airports, malls, and other public places.

Regarding your home, defibrillators are especially recommended if someone in the household is vulnerable to a heart attack. 

In your business, purchasing a defibrillator is an excellent statement to both your employees and your customers that you care.

Remember, when the heart stops, there are only minutes before brain damage begins and eventually death.  If the response time for your local rescue squad is five minutes (which is good in many places), brain damage has probably already begun.

How Much do Defibrillators Cost?

Defibrillators have been steadily coming down in price.  At one point they all went for about $3,000.00.  Now, some units are going for about $1,200.00.

What Steps Should I take Before Purchasing a Defibrillator?

The American Heart Association recommends that a licensed physician or a medical authority be involved with the purchase of defibrillator.

This is a quality control mechanism. The licensed physician or medical authority will ensure that all designated responders are properly trained and that the AED is properly maintained. He or she also can help establishments develop an emergency response plan for the AED program.

-American Heart Association

Good luck, and we hope we cleared some things up for you.

Thursday, October 6, 2005  10:58 p.m.







Other Resources

FDA Page on Defibrillators
American Heart Association Page on Defibrillators




The following companies manufacture defibrillators and are listed on the American Heart Association website:

Access CardioSystems Defibrillators
150 Baker Avenue Extension
Suite 108
Concord, MA 01742
(978) 371-4985

Cardiac Science
Corporate Headquarters
16931 Millikan Avenue
Irvine, CA 92606
(800) 991-5465

753 Boston Post Road
Suite 102
Guilford, CT 06437
(866) 333-4248

Medical Research Laboratories, Inc. (Acquired by Welch Allyn April 2003)
1000 Asbury Dr., No. 17
Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089
(800) 462-0777  

Medtronic Physio-Control Defibrillators
11811 Willows Road NE
PO Box 97006
Redmond, WA 98073-9706
(800) 442-1142 or (425) 867-4000

Philips Medical Systems/Heartstream
2301 5th AvenueSuite 200
Seattle, WA 98121
(800) 263-3342

ZOLL Medical Corporation Defibrillators
Worldwide Headquarters
269 Mill Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824-4105
(800) 348-9011

HEARTSINE Technologies
25892 Jamon Lane
Mission Viejo, California 92691
(866) 478-7463

Friday, June 24, 2005  10:58 p.m.


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