Whether your church has 25 members or 2,500 members, you need an automated external defibrillator (AED). Consider that 350,000 Americans a year experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Without immediate CPR and defibrillation, death will occur in minutes. That’s why SCA is the nation’s leading cause of death.
The good news is that most of these tragedies can be prevented. With quick CPR and defibrillation, as many as 90% of SCA sufferers can recover. The key is administering treatment in a timely manner. Every minute counts, and the sufferer’s prognosis is largely determined by the quickness of treatment.
If someone in your congregation—or on your church staff—falls victim to cardiac arrest, the key is to remain calm and provide treatment immediately. A quality defibrillator makes this possible, even without medical training. All of the necessary instructions are provided via voice coaching.
The trick is choosing the best AED for your church.
Are AEDs Legally Required in Churches?
Automated external defibrillators are not legally mandated for churches in any of the 50 U.S. states. However, these life-saving devices are nevertheless important for every house of worship. The larger the congregation, the higher the likelihood of a cardiac emergency.
In addition, if someone suffers a cardiac episode while in church and dies because no medical devices are available, the church may be subject to legal action. Even if you’re ultimately deemed not at fault, the legal defense can be costly. The presence of a defibrillation device ensures that you’re doing your due diligence to promote the safety of your flock while they’re in your care.
What to Look for in a Church AED
When choosing an automated external defibrillator for your church, certain factors will prove especially important. These factors include:
- Ease of use: In many cases, your church won’t have trained medical personnel on hand. You want an AED that’s easy for a layperson to operate effectively, thereby ensuring that anyone on your staff can rise to the occasion when an emergency arises.
- Easy pediatric capabilities: While older Americans are more likely to experience cardiac arrest, children can fall victim as well. In fact, as many as 9,500 children in the U.S. suffer from SCA every year. If that happens, you need an AED that can easily be adjusted for children. Children under 8 years old and under 55 pounds should never be subject to the same level of shock reserved for adults.
- Multi-language capabilities: If your staff includes Spanish speakers, you may need a model that can toggle between English and Spanish instructions.
- Affordability: Mostchurches work with a limited budget, and the available funds are largely dedicated to the ministry. With that in mind, you’ll want a device that doesn’t prove financially burdensome. Quality models can be purchased for between $1,200 and $1,800.
The Best AED Models for Churches
Keeping the above factors in mind, we’ve narrowed down the following as being some of the best automated external defibrillators for churches.
Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR2
The Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR2 is a versatile model that’s well-suited to the needs of churches. It’s also one of the most affordable models in its class.
Ease of Use: Just open the lid to turn on the device. Then apply the electrode pads and you’re ready to go. Audible instructions guide you every step of the way, and you can adjust the volume for noisy environments. The voice instructions also guide you through the CPR process, and a metronome ensures that you maintain the proper beats.
Pediatric Capabilities: If you have to administer treatment to a child, just click the “Child Mode” button. The settings adjust automatically with no need for separate pads.
Dual-Language Capabilities: The one-button dual language toggle lets you seamlessly transition the voice coaching from English to Spanish and back.
Price: The LIFEPAK CR2 can be purchased for as little as $1,295. There’s also a LIFEPAK CR2 Value Package available for $1,325 that includes a soft carry case, a cabinet, wall signage, a first responder kit, a Quick Start Tool Kit With Training Demo, and more.
Zoll AED Plus
The Zoll AED Plus is one of the simplest defibrillators to use. Though not as feature-rich as some of its competitors, it’s perfect for users without medical training.
Ease of Use: This model includes ZOLL’s signature CPR-D-padz, defibrillation pads designed with easy guides for optimal chest placement. The device automatically detects shockable heart rhythms and delivers shocks as needed—you don’t even need to press the shock button. The device also includes Real CPR Help® technology, which provides real-time coaching and even tells you whether you need to push harder. This is the only automated external defibrillator to offer this technology.
Pediatric Capabilities: This ZOLL model is compatible with Pedi Padz II electrodes. These pads are sold separately and cost $95. Before administering treatment to a child, the user must remove the standard pads and apply the Pedi Padz.
Dual-Language Capabilities: Dual-language functionality isn’t available for this device, but Spanish-only models are available for Spanish-speaking churches.
Price: This model can be purchased for as little as $1,699. There’s also an AED Plus Value Package available for 1,729, which includes a cabinet, a first responder kit, a wall poster, decals, and more.
The Philips FRx is another intuitive model that offers clear instruction, easy-to-follow diagrams, and child-friendly functionality.
Ease of Use: The step-by-step instructions are simple to follow. Just press the blue i-button for audible CPR assistance. Life Guidance instructions direct the correct number, rate, and depth of chest compressions. After CPR is administered, an on-screen diagram illustrates where to place the electrode pads. Just follow the diagram and click the orange “Shock” button when prompted.
Pediatric Capabilities: The FRx includes an Infant/Child Key. To administer treatment to children, just insert the key into the device. The instructions and compressions will automatically update for children under 55 pounds or 8 years of age.
Dual-language Capabilities:HeartStart Configure software lets you choose your preferred language, but you can’t change your language on the fly like you can with the LIFEPAK CR2.
Price: A LIFEPAK CR 2 Value Package is available for $1,711. It includes the LIFEPAK CR2 plus a cabinet, a first responder kit, a carry case, signage, and more. It also includes an 8-year warranty.
Recommended Defibrillator Accessories for Churches
If you purchase a Value Package, the kit should include most of the accessories you need. If you’re missing any of the following accessories, it’s a good idea to invest in them:
A Backpack: Depending on the size of your church, a cardiac emergency may require you to run a long distance with your defibrillator in hand. A special backpack makes this process much easier while protecting your defibrillation machine. Just secure the device and accessories within the backpack, place the backpack firmly on your back, and race to the site of the emergency.
A Cabinet: Ideally, an AED cabinet should be placed within the church office or wherever emergency supplies are kept. The cabinet protects the device and provides a secure central location for it. Some cabinets can even be integrated into the church’s central security system. If possible, invest in a cabinet that’s specific to the make and model of your device.
How to Maintain an AED in a Church
Regular inspections are critical. If someone dies after receiving defibrillation by a poorly functioning AED, the church may be subject to legal action. There are a few ways to ensure that your defibrillator is always functioning as required and ready to go at a moment’s notice:
- Ensure that your automated external defibrillator performs the required daily, weekly, and monthly self-checks. In most cases, your screen will show icons indicating the readiness status. A red light or other warning light will appear if something is wrong. Keep a close eye on your device and look for visible indications of a problem.
- Replace the unit pads in advance of the expiration date listed. It’s always a good idea to have an extra set of pads on hand for an emergency.
- Keep a close eye on your battery’s expiration date. Replace it with a new battery as needed.
- Fill out your inspection tags and keep them in a visible location near the device. The tags should be filled out with the serial number, manufacturer, model, pad expiration date, battery expiration date, and other pertinent information.
- Sign up for Program Management. A program management service will help monitor performance and expiration dates, assist with physician oversight, and fulfill other essential compliance requirements.
Interested in purchasing an AED for your church or house of worship? We have been in business for over 10 years, and we’re the trusted provider for automated external defibrillators for churches. Get the guaranteed lowest price for a year coupled with world-class customer service. We also offer free delivery on orders over $99.
An automated external defibrillator provides peace of mind for you, your staff, and your congregation. One day, it may even save a life.