A Home Defibrillator: The life-saving tool all families need

September 10, 2020 | Last Updated: October 13, 2021

Before discussing the pros & cons of purchasing a home defibrillator, it’s helpful to understand what AEDs do and why they are needed.

Automated External Defibrillators, commonly known as AEDs, are used to revive someone in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). SCA is a dangerous, life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. Without a proper heartbeat, victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest will die within minutes. Fortunately, there is a treatment! AEDs treat patients in SCA by safely restarting the heart. 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not only dangerous, it is also the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of over 350,000 people every year!

The most recent data suggest that 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home, with the vast majority of the victims dying before help arrives. That’s 250,000 lives lost each year in American homes. This massive number of people is equivalent to one-third of the population of Seattle, WA dying each year. 


“For us, having an AED at home is very important because we know people at risk. We bought a personal AED for our house in the event that cardiac arrest were to happen at home. It’s not unrealistic that we could be walking around the house and suddenly one of us is laying on the floor in sudden cardiac arrest. We want to be prepared with an AED so that we can do something to save a family member in the event of cardiac arrest."

Julia Kawas

diagnosed with Long QT syndrome at the age of 14, shares why her family purchased AEDs upon learning that she, her mother, and brother have a potentially lethal heart arrhythmia.

Smart Technology for Your Home

AED units make saving a life simple by using smart technology and guiding users through the rescue process. When the AED’s electrode pads are applied to a person’s chest, they read the person’s heart rhythm to see if they need to be treated with a defibrillation shock. If they are in a shockable heart rhythm, then the AED will deliver a shock that can save their life. If they are not in a shockable rhythm, then the AED will NOT deliver a shock. Therefore, AEDs cannot hurt someone who doesn’t need help. Learn more about how AEDs work and when they’re needed.


Time is of the Essence


When Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs, a person’s heart unexpectedly stops beating. Therefore, oxygen-rich blood is not being delivered to the brain and other vital organs. This lack of oxygen causes victims to collapse and become unresponsive. Without oxygen, the chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims decrease quickly by 7-10% for each minute that passes. Therefore, to increase the likelihood of survival, AEDs should be used as fast as possible!

AEDs are Built for Lay Responders

While it is prudent for health care professionals to have AEDs at home, you don’t need a medical license to use an AED. They are built for use by anyone!

In fact, there are many stories and even research studies about how youth can successfully use AEDs 

Home AED Resources

Home AED Rescue Stories

Frequently Asked Questions about Buying an AED for Personal Use

AEDs are an important part of home safety, so make sure you’re informed before buying a portable defibrillator!

Are AEDs for home use different than other AEDs?

All FDA-approved AED units work in fundamentally the same way. They are powered on, electrode pads are applied to the patient’s chest, the AED reads the victim’s heart rhythm, and, if a defibrillation shock is needed, they charge to deliver a shock. So, in a sense, any AED model can be used for home use.

But, in our opinion, there are certain characteristics that make some AEDs better for home use than others. If you’re thinking about buying an AED for your household, make sure that it’s as portable as possible. This means they should be small, lightweight, and easy to carry. Read more about finding the best AED for home.

The nearest fire department is close to my house. Do I need a personal AED?
Does insurance cover the purchase of home defibrillators?
How much do home AEDs cost?
How are AEDs used on infants and children?
How do I maintain my AED?
Where do I put my AED at home?
Do I need an AED for my car? Or, should I take it with me in my car?

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