How to Choose the Best AED for Your Office
It can feel daunting to select the best Automated External Defibrillator (AED) units for your workplace.Whether you’re just beginning your research, or you’ve already spoken with AED companies and started to put together a list of AED features and considerations, Avive is here to help.
Which AED differences matter for office programs, and which do not?
- Should you get a semi-automatic or fully-automatic AED?
- Do you need fixed or escalating energy?
- Does the IP rating matter? And, what does the IP rating even mean?
We’ll explore these questions and more, to help you choose the best AED for your office.
To begin, we recommend focusing on the three important selection criteria for office AEDs: AED price, connected AEDs, and AED usability.
One of the most important AED considerations is pricing. After all, why spend more money than you have to?
We recommend you look at the AED’s total cost of ownership (TCO), which is a combination of the AED’s initial purchase price plus the cost of any accessories that expire and must be replaced over a certain time frame.
For example, suppose you’re analyzing the TCO of a Philips OnSite AED, and you’d like to know your total expenses over the AEDs warranty (eight years).
The OnSite AED comes with a four-year battery and an electrode pad set that has a two-year shelf-life.
Based on this information, over the course of eight years,
- You’d need to replace the battery one time (at the end of the fourth year)
- Replace the AED’s pads three times (end of the 2nd year, end of the 4th year, and end of the sixth year) in order to ensure that you have a well-run program for the 8-year timeframe.
Over eight years, your TCO would be approximately $1,645, calculated as follows:
- Initial AED purchase price (advertised price): $1,275
- Electrode pads: $67 per pair x 3 pairs = $201
- AED battery: $169 per battery x 1 battery = $169
- Total cost of ownership (eight years) = $1,645
By buying AED units with a low TCO, you can save money and even purchase more devices to increase your coverage area. For larger offices and facilities, having more AEDs ensures that all your employees and visitors are protected from SCA by having an AED within a 1-minute walk from any location onsite.
Best AED for: AED Price
Recommendation: purchase the AED with the lowest TCO
AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P or 360P
AED program management isn’t just good practice, it can be a legal requirement for owning an AED in your city or state.
For years, AED owners have relied on their staff and satellite locations to properly manage their AEDs, which can be burdensome and lead to poor maintenance. Losing an employee due to a poorly-run AED program is particularly devastating and can also expose your business to liability.
Connected AEDs that communicate wirelessly with the cloud (either via Bluetooth, WiFi, or cellular connectivity) allow you to effectively manage your fleet of AEDs and get status updates so that you know your devices is always ready for an emergency.
If you have just one AED, connectivity AED will absolutely make your life easier, but it may not be vital. If you have multiple AEDs, particularly if the units are spread across more than one facility or office, buying a connected AED becomes necessary.
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)
While you may have a detailed CPR & AED program planned for your staff, the simpler your AED is to use, the better. After all, in cases of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), anyone might be the victim or the responder. Therefore, it’s important that as many people as possible know how to use the AED.
Devices with poor usability slow down the time it takes to deliver defibrillation therapy. Every second counts when a victim suffers SCA, so you want an AED that is simple and can be used quickly.
While there’s some research that evaluates AED usability, the decision frequently comes down to personal preferences. We recommend bringing in demo devices to see what your personnel feel most comfortable using.
Best AED for: Usability
Recommendation: demo different AED models to see which is the most user-friendly for you and your personnel
Bonus Tip: show each AED model to someone in your office who has never seen an AED before and ask them which unit is intuitive to use
Other AED Considerations
Other factors and criteria that often arise in AED sales conversations may include: AED IP Ratings, Semi vs. Fully Automatic AEDs, Escalating Energy, and CPR Feedback. While these factors may not be critical, it is important to be informed.
AED IP Ratings
“IP Rating” stands for “ingress protection,” and it is a standard published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The first number of the IP Rating describes how resilient the AED is to solid like dust. IP dust ratings range from 1-6. The higher the number, the more protection offered by the device. For example, an IP rating of 1 means that the product is only protected against a solid that is greater than 50 mm, like a hand. An IP rating of 6 means that the device is “dust tight” with zero ingresses of dust for 2-8 hours. Most AED units have an IP dust rating of 4 or 5.
The second number describes how resilient the AED is to water. IP Ratings for water range from 1-8. The higher the number, the more protected the AED is from water. An IP rating of 1 means that the device is protected from vertical falling water and “limited” ingress is permitted. An IP rating of 8 means that the device is protected against the effects of immersion in water under pressure for long periods of time.
While the IP rating for some AED applications is critical, such as for mobile AEDs or outdoor units where responders might encounter inclement weather, AEDs for offices are typically housed indoors where they don’t experience extremes.
While a higher IP rating is always better than a low one, we don’t recommend basing your decision on this factor alone. An IP rating of 44 or higher will work well for any typical office environment.
Best AED for: IP Rating
Recommendation: for offices who need an AED to withstand significant dust and water exposure, purchase an AED with a higher IP rating.
AED Model Winner: HeartSine samaritan 350P or HeartSine samaritan 450P IP56
Semi-automatic AEDs vs Fully-automatic AEDs
Some AEDs, like the Philips OnSite, require the user to physically push a flashing button in order to deliver a life-saving shock. Other units, analyze and automatically deliver the shock, without human intervention (or hesitation).
While both semi-automatic and fully-automatic AEDs deliver defibrillation, we feel that a fully-automatic AED helps save time by removing a step of manual user intervention.
While this is an important consideration, we don’t think this single factor should disproportionately impact your decision.
Best AED for: Semi-Automatic vs Fully-Automatic
Recommendation: purchase a Fully Automatic AEDs to streamline the emergency response.
AED Model Winner: HeartSine 360P
CPR feedback can be helpful to those responding to SCA emergencies, however, it requires AEDs to be applied to a patient to offer assistance. There is no feedback given from AEDs that haven’t made their way to a patient’s side.
Our opinion is that the most critical step of AED response is the “response” and that CPR feedback is a nice option, but that it shouldn’t impact your decision on its own.