What is an AED? Where do you find them? How can you buy one?
iRescU is working to build an open data accessible AED (Automated External Defibrillators) data base - bridging existing very limited government data bases with validated crowdsourced data so that AEDs are accessible immediately where and when they are needed. 911 systems benefit from access to comprehensive AED geolocation data as do bystanders at the scene of a cardiac arrest.
WHAT is an AED?
AEDs are clever simple electronic devices that save lives - and are a crucial part of the chain of survival in sudden cardiac arrest. They are designed for lay people to use them - the more immediately they are used - the better the chance of a successful outcome.
In the USA. approximately 380,000 people each year die from sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, and 85% of these deaths occur in the home.
Anyone can use an AED. They are very safe, and you can't hurt the victim. AEDs have an 'on button', 'pads' to stick on the victim's bare chest and a 'shock button'. All AEDs actually 'talk' to you, and give you instructions. They are battery operated. There are a number of different manufacturers and while the AEDs might all look a little different, they all do the same thing: 'jump-start the heart'. So look for the wall box and sign, grab the AED out and GO to the victim!
Here is what AEDs look like out of the wall box:
WHERE ARE AEDs?
Currently the location of the nearest AED, (and one that is also in working order) is often unknown. Existing government databases in many parts of the country and the world are incomplete, if they exist at all - and are not easily accessible. 911 Systems know of the location of some AEDs, in few places is the inventory comprehensive. Bystanders need to look for the AED wall box and AED sign, in an emergency. Recent studies have shown that many cardiac arrests occur only a few feet from an AED, that was not used, as its location was not known or identified. This is an AED wall sign:
How can you buy an AED?
"Can I get an AED for my home or workplace?" - Sure anyone can use an AED, and anyone can purchase one. The cost is coming down, and there are rebate programs with some insurers and also tax rebates.
There are 5 companies who manufacture AEDs in the USA - Zoll, Philips, Physiocontrol/Medtronics, Defibtec and Heart Sine. And there are MANY after market distributors!
There are many paths to purchasing an AED - from a 'Google' search or an 'Amazon' purchase- to seeking out a distributor in your area who can do a site visit, and advise on a number of aspects of AED purchase and management. Not all distributors offer the same type and quality of service - and importantly - not all distributors carry all the 5 company's AEDs.
Purchase - You will need to choose a model from one of the 5 manufacturing companies, and decide whether you will choose to make your purchase through a distributor, and then to choose from one of the many distributors, should you choose to go that route.
Local laws - Some regions have some requirements that are required to be fullfilled for AED purchase, a Physician prescription may be required, or a registration process for some types of public locations, and positioning and signage and training issues.
Reimbursement - In some circumstances a reimbursement from an insurer can be made, and there are also some taxation rebates.