AED's - Defibrillators


What is an AED?

 An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.  Most SCAs result from ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF is a rapid and unsynchronized heart rhythm that originates in the heart’s lower chambers (the ventricles). The heart must be “defibrillated” quickly, because a victim’s chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored. 

What is the difference between a Heart Attack & Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

 People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.   

A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage. Symptoms of a heart attack may be immediate and intense. More often, though, symptoms start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. Unlike with sudden cardiac arrest, the heart usually does not stop beating during a heart attack. The heart attack symptoms in women can be different than men.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. 

Why are AED's Important?

AED's make it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. Because AED's are portable, they can be used by nonmedical people (lay-rescuers). They can be made part of emergency response programs that also include rapid use of 9-1-1 and prompt delivery of cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). All three of these activities are vital to improving survival from SCA.

How Does an AED Work and Who Can Use It?

 A built-in computer checks a victim’s heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes. The computer calculates whether defibrillation is needed. If it is, a recorded voice prompts the rescuer to shock the heart. This shock momentarily stuns the heart and stops all activity. It gives the heart the chance to resume beating effectively. Audible prompts guide the user through the process. AED's advise a shock only for ventricular fibrillation (VF) or another life-threatening condition called pulseless ventricular tachycardia. 

Non-medical personnel such as police, fire service personnel, flight attendants, security guards and other lay rescuers who have been trained in CPR can use AED's. Although formal training in the use of an AED is not required, it is recommended to help the rescuer increase their comfort and level of confidence. However, AED's are intended for use by the general public. Most AED's use audible voice prompts to guide the user through the process.

Do I Need an AED at my Workplace?

No. Schools and fitness centers are usually the only places that are required by law to have an AED on site. 



  • A fitness facility was told to pay $619,650 in a man's death for not having a defibrillator
  • Amtrak & MA Bay Transportation Authority paid $3.9 million to a widow of a prominent scientist who died after suffering a SCA on a commuter train.
  • A family of a teenage girl who died of a SCA was awarded $500,000 after winning a lawsuit against Busch Gardens because they did not have AED's onsite.
  • Doctors were ordered to pay $360,000 when a women of SCA died during breast surgery and could not be saved by surgeons.
  • A Florida sports club paid $2.25 million dollars after a 42 year-old suffered SCA and died in the club.
  • Major airlines were sued over air cardiac deaths. A Massachusetts women sued Frontier Airlines for not having an AED on the plane. The women is seeking 20 million dollars.
  • A family sues town over police officer's death. Family of a police sergeant accuses city of negligence in not training officers in use of AED's. The family is seeking $1.5 million dollars.
  • A Maryland family sues over SCA swimming pool death. The family is seeking $3 million dollars in a wrongful death suit where a portable defibrillator was not available.

What are the Difference Types of AED's on the Market?

The two types of AED's on the market are Automatic and Semi-Automatic. Most AED's use a prompt to guide the user in applying the AED pads and if needed, to deliver the shock or "Clear the Victim". Some AED's may have a metronome, some will count your compressions and tell you to give 2 breaths. Some AED's will let you know if you are pushing to fast or too slow.


Where Can I Get the Training to Use an AED?

First Aid & CPR, LLC is an offsite training company. We come to you with the training. We will bring manikins, AED Trainers and everything needed to train your staff, members or family in CPR and the the use of an AED. Call us for more info at 888-242-4259 or email us at

How Much Does An AED Cost?

Depending on the make and model will depend on the price. First Aid & CPR, LLC offers discounts to those that take CPR training with us. We also offer discounts to nonprofit organizations and will try to beat any advertised price.   

Do I Need Pediatric Pads? A CPR Prep Kit? A Cabinet?

Pediatric pads are used for children under the age of 8 or less than 55 lbs. They are required in schools or where children are present. We teach you what to do in the event that child pads are not present. A CPR Prep kit should be with the AED. It usually comes with a breathing barrier device, scissors, razor blade, towel, gloves and other items. Cabinets are good to secure the AED if in a public place. Cabinets should not be locked to allow for its usage. Most cabinets come with an alarm and in some cases a flashing red light to notify the facility the AED is being used.

Do I Need a Prescription to Get an AED?

AED's are medical devices. We will work with you in getting all the necessary documents.

Can I Rent an AED?

Yes. First Aid & CPR, LLC has a rental program. Whether needing it for a sporting event, weekend getaway or long term use, we offer these devices as rentals. 

What types of AED's Do we Sell?

We sell all brands. HeartSine, Philips, DefibTech, Zoll, Cardiac Science and Physio Control. We sell all accessories for each of these manufacturers.