Increasingly, Fire and Rescue Services are installing defibrillators at their service stations and many fire engines are equipped with them. However, to make an even bigger difference, more organisations and businesses need to get involved and are encouraged to install defibrillators on their premises and make them accessible during operating hours. When treating cardiac arrest it is essential that a defibrillator is used within the first minute to give the victim a 90% chance of survival. Every minute of delay reduces this survival chance and a delay of 10 minutes means that the survival rate can be as low as 5%. Having widespread defibrillators available, that are easy to find and easy to access, can make all the difference to the people in your community.
This article will give you an overview of the annual costs of purchasing and maintaining your defibrillator of customer ratings and a best buy recommendation.
What are defibrillators?
Automated External Defibrillators (also known as a defibrillators, defibs or AEDs) are first aid devices used to treat cardiac arrests caused by cardiac arrhythmias (irregular electrical activity in the heart) and deliver an electric shock once the device has analysed the heart activity of the victim. This shock re-establishes the heart’s regular rhythm. Defibrillators will not deliver shocks if the heart problem is of a different type and can usually be used by a lay person.
Fully-automatic defibs are the most appropriate in situations where the potential users have no previous training, such as in public places.
Semi-automatic defibs are used is cases where the device is used by people with basic defibrillator training and requires the user to make the final decision to deliver the shock once the Defib has carried out the analysis of the victim’s heart. Even with a semi-automatic defib a shock will not be delivered if the device does not detect fibrillation (this is the abnormal heart rhythm found in cardiac arrest victims), even if the shock button has been pressed.
To use a defibrillator, usually two pads have to be fixed to the victim’s chest. These pads register the heart functions and will then, when appropriate, apply an electric shock.
Cost of installing and maintaining a defibrillator
The actual purchase costs for a fully automatic defibrillator suitable for use in offices and public buildings start at around £775 excl VAT. A defib cabinet is often also purchased; this enables the defib to be kept in one easily recognised place, which can add about £200 to the initial cost.
To calculate the overall annual cost of purchasing and maintaining a defib you also have to take into account the life span of the batteries and pads supplied with each defibrillator as well as the cost for the replacement pads and batteries over the lifespan of the defibrillators. The lifespan of each manufacturer’s pads and batteries can differ greatly. Also, the Defib itself has a limited lifespan which, according to the manufacturers, concurs with the warranty period of the device which varies from 5 to 10 years.
To make a cost comparison easy, we asked our partner, Safelincs, to provide an annualised cost analysis and to display clearly the annual costs of a defibrillator. This is clearly shown in the diagram below. Safelincs is a leading fire safety business in the UK who also installs and supplies defibrillators across the UK. They have an outstanding record with regards to providing un-biased information and for feeding back the customers’ needs to the manufacturers. We hope that this overview will help you to select a defibrillator model that is not just good value to purchase but that will also offer best overall value for money over the whole lifespan of the product.
The results have been surprising, with annual costs varying from around £94 to £261 excl VAT per year (this calculation does not take the cost of a cabinet into account).
In addition to of the price and the replacement costs, Safelincs also reviewed ease of maintenance, additional extras such as carry cases and real-life customer ratings to devise a Best Buy recommendation.