Last Updated: September 10, 2020 AED Industry Guides > AED for Churches > Best AED for Church

Best AED for Church

All Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) work and will save lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The most important thing is to make sure that your faith-based organization is equipped with a life-saving AED unit ⁠— no matter which brand or model. With that being said, there are certainly specific AED models that have features and capabilities that are better suited for churches. 

When researching which AED is the best fit for your organization, you’re likely going to come across A LOT of information. This resource will cut through all the minutiae and summarize the most important factors a faith-based organization should consider when deciding which AED to purchase for their facilities. While no single AED model “wins” on all factors, this analysis will allow churches to choose the device that best fits their priorities and needs!

 The four most important factors for churches are:

Other factors to consider are:

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Some AED models have a lower upfront cost, but that doesn’t mean they are the most affordable devices on the market. When trying to determine how expensive an AED is, you need to look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). 

This is especially important since many faith-based organizations must carefully allocate their  budgets. Prior to purchasing an AED, you want to make sure that you’re fully aware of all the costs you’re going to incur so that you can budget, and if necessary, fundraise appropriately.

Background: 

When comparing the prices of AED units, to fully understand what a device is going to cost over a period of time, it is necessary to combine the upfront purchase price with the repetitive cost of replacement supplies such as AED batteries and electrode pads. 

All of these costs combined represent an AEDs “Total Cost of Ownership,” or in other words, the total cost of an AED over the lifetime of the device. To reduce their short-term and long-term financial burden, churches and other faith-based organizations should purchase an AED that has a lower TCO. 

Best AED for: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Recommendation: purchase the AED with the lowest TCO

AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P or 360P

Connectivity

All AED models need to be checked and maintained on a regular basis. Unfortunately, most AED units don’t have any connectivity features. Therefore, the AEDs need to be manually checked at least once per month to confirm whether they are, or are not, ready for emergency use. With all the responsibilities that come with operating any organization, the added burden of manually checking AEDs is unnecessarily troublesome. 

To avoid burdensome maintenance, a  “connected” AED solves this problem!

Background:

As part of a monthly maintenance check, most AED owners (or the person responsible for maintenance) are required to physically look at the AED status light to determine whether the device is ready for emergency use. Without connectivity, AED owners are forced to manually keep track of the device’s battery life and electrode pad expiration dates. 

This becomes especially confusing if your organization purchases AEDs at different times, as the expiration dates for the batteries and electrode pads for the devices you own won’t be the same. 

Since most AED models don’t have connectivity, you might be wondering what happens if the device’s status changes in between regularly scheduled maintenance checks, and now the device isn’t ready for use during an emergency? 

The unfortunate and scary reality is that chances are, no one will know the device isn’t functional until the next maintenance check. Or even worse, someone might try to use the non-functional device in an emergency and it won’t work. Simply put, the current manual maintenance process is burdensome and full of risk, especially if your faith-based organization has a large facility or campus!

Fortunately, two new AED models incorporate Wi-Fi connectivity to help partially automate the current manual maintenance process by proactively alerting AED owners when an issue is detected with their device. These two devices are:

  • Any HeartSine AED model with the HeartSine Gateway attachment (this adds $359 to the upfront cost of the AED, as well as monthly recurring charges, to access Wi-Fi capabilities)
  • The Physio-Control CR2 model (adds $100 to the upfront cost of the AED, as well as monthly recurring charges, to access Wi-Fi capabilities)

Churches and other faith-based organizations should purchase an AED model that has some degree of connectivity; especially if they own multiple devices. Connectivity reduced the headache and risk involved with manual AED maintenance.

Best AED for: Connectivity

Recommendation: purchase an AED model that has connectivity features that allow for remote monitoring and maintenance of your device

AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P or 360P (more affordable than the Physio-Control CR2 product with similar connectivity feature set)

Pediatric Capabilities: 

Young children often accompany their parents to weekly religious services, so it is important that your church owns an AED that can easily provide therapy to pediatric patients. While all AEDs have the ability to deliver a defibrillation shock to both adult and pediatric patients, certain models make it much simpler to do the following: 

  • Switch between the two modes (adult and pediatric) during an emergency. This is important for delivering a safe and effective shock to the patient
  • Maintain the device such that it’s ready to use on either an adult or pediatric patient

    Background:

    The difference between an adult and pediatric shock is that the shock delivered to pediatric patients is at a lower energy level. Across all AED models, pediatric patients are defined as children under 8 years old or under 55 pounds. 

    Most AEDs require you to insert a separate set of pediatric pads (one device actually requires you to insert a special pediatric key) to reduce the energy level of the defibrillation shock. We recommend staying away from AED models that have this requirement because separate pediatric pads create added cost and maintenance burden. Devices with separate pediatric pads require schools to: 

      • Keep track of an extra set of electrode pads to ensure the pediatric pads can be easily located when responding to an SCA on campus
      • Pay for the replacement of an extra set of electrode pads once they expire (more to come below)
      • Waste extra and valuable time preparing the device for the appropriate patient during an emergency

    Instead, for ease of use during an emergency and less burdensome maintenance, schools should strongly consider purchasing an AED that has a pediatric button and universal electrode pads (which can be used for both adults and kids). By pressing the pediatric button, the device will automatically reduce the defibrillation energy down to an appropriate level for a pediatric patient. Much simpler and easier! 

    Learn more about why a pediatric button and universal electrode pad are better options.

    Best AED for: Pediatric Capabilities

    Recommendation: purchase an AED that has a pediatric button and universal electrode pads.

    AED Model Winner: Physio-Control CR2

    Fully Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic:

    Nearly all AED units come in two configurations:

    • Semi-automatic AEDs require a user to press a shock button to deliver a shock to the patient
    • Fully-automatic AEDs will automatically deliver a shock to the patient once the device detects the patient is in a shockable heart rhythm

    Since churches have many different congregants and visitors, it’s unknown whether a trained or untrained bystander will be the one to use an AED to respond to a patient in SCA. To ensure the AED is as easy to use as possible for bystanders of all training levels, we recommend that you purchase the fully-automatic version of the device.

    Background:

    All AED manufacturers (aside from Philips) sell two configurations of their devices: semi-automatic and fully-automatic. There have been many instances where untrained laypersons have used a semi-automatic AED perfectly during an emergency, but then they hesitate to press the shock button because they fear they’ll hurt the patient. This hesitancy causes a significant, and most importantly, avoidable delay in treatment to the patient. 

    When a patient is suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest, time is of the essence. So, when the AED machine determines that a patient has a shockable rhythm, it’s critical to deliver a shock as quickly as possible. To eliminate the risk of a bystander delaying therapy by not pressing the shock button, schools should purchase the fully-automatic version of an AED.

    It is worth noting that the upfront purchase cost of the device is more expensive for the fully automatic version of the following AED models: 

    • Physio-Control CR2 (+$100)
    • Physio-Control CR Plus (+$100)
    • HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P and 360P (+$100)
    • Defibtech Lifeline (+$100)

    Best AED for: Fully Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic

    Recommendation: purchase the fully automatic version of the AED model you choose

    AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P or 360P

    Other Factors to Consider:

    Size & Weight: 

    If your church, synagogue, mosque, or other faith-based organization hosts community events such as youth camps, sporting events, or any activity that involves physical exertion, it’s best that an AED is taken to those activities in the event that someone suffers Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This is especially important for faith-based organizations that have large or sprawling  facilities.

    Having mobile AEDs devices that are designated to be carried around a facility immediately available at higher risk activities makes rapid defibrillation, and therefore survival, more likely.

    Background: 

    The most common deployment of AEDs in public locations, including faith-based organizations, is placing these devices in fixed wall cabinets inside a building. 

    While placing fixed units is important to ensure sufficient coverage of devices at your church, these locations often don’t address the critically important need that is having an AED immediately accessible at a sporting event or large gathering. Bringing AEDs to these events and gatherings can significantly reduce time-to-defibrillation and increase the survival chances of an SCA victim.  

    Deployment of “mobile” AEDs is rare because size and weight are often not considered when choosing which device to purchase. Owning a larger and heavier AED makes it extremely burdensome for anyone to carry the devices around the facility. If your staff members and volunteers want to take an AED and other first aid supplies to an event at your facility, owning a larger AED will likely force them to dedicate an entire gear bag just to carry the AED. 

    If the size and weight of an AED is an important factor for your faith-based organization, use the chart below to figure out which device meets your requirements!

    AED Weight & Size Comparison 
    Weight & Size shown with no carry case

    Best AED for: Size & Weight

    Recommendation: If it’s important to have mobile AEDs available at your faith-based organization, consider purchasing the smallest and most lightweight AED possible to make it easier to transport and carry the device whenever necessary

    AED Model Winner: Any HeartSine device

    Dual-Language Capabilities:

    At some faith-based organizations, the staff, congregants, and/or community members at large are more comfortable with the Spanish language. If that applies to your organization, then it’s wise to purchase an AED model that has the ability to easily switch between providing English and Spanish audio instructions. 

    Background: 

    By default, all AED models provide audio instructions in English to help guide a user through the process of using the device during an SCA emergency. Some AED models are able to provide Spanish audio instructions, but with far too much complexity and unnecessary expense. 

    A couple of examples are:

    • To have Zoll’s AED Plus provide Spanish audio instructions, you have to buy a separate Spanish-only model
    • In order to have a Philips AED provide Spanish audio instruction, you have to purchase software that configures the device to Spanish. By configuring the device to Spanish language, users are unable to switch the device back to English during an emergency 

    Only two AED models have the ability to seamlessly switch between English and Spanish audio instructions through the push of a “language” button.  

    These two devices are the: 

    • Cardiac Science G5
    • Physio-Control CR2

    Best AED for: Dual-Language Capabilities

    Recommendation: If your church or faith-based organization has staff, congregants, and community members that are more comfortable with the Spanish language, then consider purchasing an AED model that has a “language” button. This will allow users to seamlessly switch the device between English and Spanish audio instructions when responding to an SCA emergency. 

    AED Model Winner: Cardiac Science G5 (more affordable than the Physio-Control CR2 device)

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