What are the reoccurring budget items for my AED program?

December 22, 2010

There are 5 potential budget items that affect your AED program.  Note that any non-compliance, where necessary, leads to a break down in your AED program and does open you to potential for legalities.  Once you have an AED program, remember to budget for these items where applicable!

1)       Electrode Pads – The majority of the AED models on the market have a 2 year electrode pad life.  The date of the expiration is clearly marked on the pad package, an example is shown on this posting for the Philips FRx Rugged AED.  Some AED models do have 3.5 yr expiry dates up to 5 yr expiry dates, however. Dates vary due to packaging mechanisms but be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and expiration dates provided.  The electrode pads will dry out and prevent proper AED functioning/use if they are not replaced as needed.  Pads range in price from $35-$120, depending on make and model owned.

2)       Batteries – The majority of the AED models on the market have a 3-5 year warranty and lifespan.  The date of the expiration is also clearly marked on the battery.  Various models will warranty the devices for xx years AFTER initial install so be sure to clearly mark your records on WHEN you install the battery for these models.  Also, the HeartSine Samaritan and Physio Conrol / Medtronic CR Plus Lifepak or Lifepak Express models have a combo pack you purchase with battery/pads being replaced simultaneously.  Defibtech / Cintas does sell a model that has a suggested annual replacement of an off-shelf 9V battery (this ensures their AED performs proper self-testing).  AED batteries range in price from $75-$400, depending on make and model owned.

3)       Training – AED acquirer state laws many times dictate that you have to ensure expected users are trained in American Heart or Red Cross or equal CPR & AED certified courses (American Safety & Health Institute, Medic First, Health & Safety Institute, Emergency Care & Safety Institute, American Health Association, etc).  These certifications range depending on which training org you use but every 1-2 years the certification expires and needs to be renewed.  Courses can be obtained locally at Red Cross locations or through the American Heart Association network but also there are over 100,000 instructor throughout the US alone and there are local training centers that can provide a competitive price for CPR & AED, First Aid, and Bloodborne Pathogen or Universal Precautions plus other more advanced or supplemental add-on training classes.  Various online solutions are also available.  Think Safe has a listing of US training centers and online solutions; contact us at or info@think-safe.com if you would like to contact a local trainer in your area.

4)       Program Manager Software / Database – AED acquirer state laws many times also dictate that the AED has to be maintained to manufacturer and industry standards.  This standard generally a 30 day check.  Many companies have their own database solution for ensuring equipment is checked regularly and records of these checks are kept on file (big companies).  If you do not, there are online solutions that are inexpensive but key in helping to not only auto-notify your AEDs are checked to standards but also the log and records of all AEDs are filed and backed up regularly for legal protection.  A nice comprehensive  UNLIMITED user solution at $25-$50/location (customer) can be seen here, showing it’s full capabilities:  http://www.firstvoice.us/FirstVoiceAEDManagerVideo/tabid/751/Default.aspx

5)       Medical Oversight – AED acquirer state laws in approximately 20 states requires a licensed physician or “certified healthcare provider” to oversee the AED program.  This is NOT an Rx!  Proper Medical Oversight includes sign-off by the appropriate license owner referred to in that state law on:  AED/CPR training of the organization (who is trained, how often, what they are trained on); AED placement and markings; AED communication; AED policy; AED maintenance & upkeep procedures.  Contact Think Safe at if you are not sure if your state requires medical oversight.  Medical Oversight costs anywhere from $75/AED to $350/AED or some companies chose to hire medical direction and pay a retainer annually.  Think Safe has a national network of medical directors and can provide a quote for efficient medical oversight for your organization, charging you for locations ONLY where mandates require it. In some cases, we can connect you with a local FREE source for medical oversight.  Call for more details.  AED distributors/dealers are encouraged to call as well.

Think Safe [VIEW OUR BIO] is a certified Women-Owned Business (WBENC) providing first aid & defibrillator expertise to clients since 2004. Known for technical assistance to customers on: [State AED acquirer laws] [AED funding sources and grants] [AED program management solutions] including [Medical Oversight] [& Online AED database / record-keeping compliance software].

References available . Please feel free to contact us at 888-473-1777 or complete the following form and we will be happy to get in touch with you!



Why do we need AEDs in camps or at schools?

June 17, 2010

June 2010

What is the scoop on AEDs and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

We are talking about the nation’s leading killer; killing more people than strokes, AIDS and breast cancer in the US annually.  Each year, between 300,000 and 400,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) outside of a hospital.

About 10,000 to 20,000 are children!  SCA affects people of all ages!

On average in the U.S., just 6.4% of SCA victims survive. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) take chances of survival to over 65%. In fact, early defibrillation (within 2-4 minutes ideally) with CPR is the only way to restore the SCA victim’s heart rhythm to normal. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by around 10%. However, there are not enough AEDs to provide this life-saving treatment, resulting in lost opportunities to save more lives. Tragically, per a NIH study in 2007, 64% of Americans have never even seen an AED. AED PROGRAMS CAN AND DO IMPROVE SURVIVAL RATES. Communities with comprehensive AED programs that include training of anticipated rescuers in both CPR and AED use have achieved survival rates of 65 percent or higher.

How does this affect camps?  [American Camping Association**]

Illinois in 2009 passed an AED law for “recreational areas” that includes sports fields or recreational areas, affecting schools and camps.  Also, organizations that are involved in camping – such as the YMCAs, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts have been placing AEDs in an increasing number of facilities and camps. This is setting an expectation to provide care amongst the population and camp attendees.  With AEDs becoming more readily available, the potential exists for increased litigation from not having an AED on premises if there is a SCA event at the camp facilities. With AED prices dropping, more products to choose from, and the possible consequences of living in our litigious society, the time for a camp to purchase an AED is now. This is especially true of those camps in remote areas where medical response is delayed.

Why should I be a champion for AEDs?   Can’t we just call 911?

The national average for EMS response in the US is 8-10 minutes.  It is recommended (for best chances of survival) AEDs be used early on and ideally within 2-4 minutes.  There is a very good chance emergency medical services (EMS) cannot respond fast enough to save someone in cardiac arrest, particularly in congested urban areas, high-rise buildings, in remote rural areas, or large facilities.

What constitutes gross negligence isn’t spelled out in the law. Per product liability attorneys specializing in AED case law, organizations that have heavy traffic are more at risk if they fail to comply with “standards to provide care” and don’t have an AED at all.  Any manager or camp director at any large or high traffic facility should consider ramifications of not having at least one on premises in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).  It is most likely their own job they are putting on the line and they should argue hard for them.  As a value-add for those directors whom can’t get top down management on board and funding is an obstacle; they should get hard copy evidence on file from their management if they can not get approval for purchase.  The old “CYA” policy!

** [Special note:  in January 2010 American Camping Association put the following revised accreditation standard into place for all camps except non-medical religious camps (camps where participants by religion do not allow modern medical intervention or treatment such as the Christian Science Church). Standard HW-17 now states: Does the camp have access to an AED (automated external defibrillator) available to the majority

Camp Responder Bag with AED

of the camp population, within the timeframe recommended by authoritative sources, and managed by trained personnel? The AED may be located on the camp property or available through another provider. ]

Think Safe can help your organization with AED funding and placement assistance.

Complete the form below to have a representative from our  AED GRANT DEPARTMENT contact you.  We are here to help you and to provide you more information and best pricing or match funding for your AED purchase needs. 


AEDs: Use by Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Healthcare Providers

April 26, 2010

Just what is the standard or duty to provide care of healthcare, long-term care or elderly care providers for Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)?

From my consistent research and study of the AED industry, the standard appears to be that many nursing homes, elderly housing complexes or assisted living facilities still do not have an AED policy or program.   In 2007 a summary study within the industry showed:


Contrarily, here is an Ohio-based midwest article on AEDs & some facilities who have decided to implement AED programs:  http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/358076/many_nursing_homes_lack_device_to_restart_heart_portable_defibrillators/

Now, not taken into consideration is the question regarding “duty to provide care” – and what is really the up-to-date 2010 standard to provide care as it relates to AEDs or CPR in these facilities?

*  Are there any industry mandates taking place? What is the healthcare industry doing about AEDs?

*  What are the trends for DNR orders or Attempted CPR- are the number of DNR orders going up or down as a % of population being admitted to healthcare facilities?  Should nursing homes or long-term care facilities have solid AED programs in place due to a decreasing % of DNR orders and more patient preferences to attempt CPR?

In January 2010 there was a great article I read that showed how UCLA is implementing AED programs across their system, due to the improvement in SCA survival they offer. UCLA Article

Nursing Studies Show AEDs improve SCA response times (this is an additional Nurse.com article on SCA & AEDs in the industry)

I have also read many articles/studies in recent years on in-hospital SCA survival versus out-of-hospital survival and perhaps UCLA is trying to improve SCA survival and change the statistics, which show IN-HOSPITAL survival is lower than OUT-OF-HOSPITAL per many studies.  The above link shows the obstacles facing nurses and staff and why AEDs may be a welcome addition to healthcare facilities.

Regarding long-term and elderly facility industry practices such as DNR advanced directives

President, Think Safe Inc

Paula Wickham, AED Industry Expert

are followed.  But, methods for identifying CPR status need improvement to enable accurate identification and prompt resuscitation of residents who want CPR:


It is known that ACPR is infrequently performed in long-term care setting and is rarely successful (successful being defined as admission to the hospital alive).  Survival (defined as discharge from the hospital) is also rare but survival does occur though. All nursing homes are not required to offer ACPR and many nursing homes in the United States, as well as in other parts of the world, do not offer ACPR.

In my assessment from my research, agencies such as the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law & Aging show that about two-thirds (2/3) of the adult population does not have an advanced directive or DNR.  I could not find any recent studies to answer my DNR questions on DNR preferences.

Recent mandates or pending mandates and “encouraged use” Bills have passed in recent years in the following states that are for assisted living facilities or long-term and medical facilities:  Texas, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Florida and others.

Perhaps it will some day become an expectation for all long-term facilities to have an AED and perform CPR but for now, it appears that each facility has to make their own decision but for sure they should consider their state’s legislation or pending legislation as it affects licensing for their facility.

One exerpt of a study states, “Surveys have shown that many elderly in different parts of the world want to be resuscitated, but may lack knowledge about the specifics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Data from countries other than the US is limited, but differences in physician and patient opinions by nationality regarding CPR do exist.”  In the essence of observing the opinions of those elderly that do want to be resuscitated – perhaps there will be some marketing advantage to employ by organizations that implement AED programs.

This article was written by Paula Wickham, President of Think Safe and AED industry expert.  Think Safe has an entire staff of technical experts for AED bills, laws and mandates.  If you would like more information on AED mandates or pending mandates for your long-term or elderly care facility, you may reach us at 888-473-1777 or by emailing info@think-safe.com and requesting a copy or link to your state’s requirements.