What is an AED?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device that checks a person’s heart and delivers an electric shock if it has stopped beating normally.


If a person suddenly collapses, they may be suffering from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA is serious. It means that the person’s heart has stopped pumping blood and they need help fast.


The most important element in the treatment of SCA is to provide a rapid shock to their heart called defibrillation. An automated external defibrillator (AED) helps ordinary people to provide defibrillation quickly.


While we recommend that everyone receive training in CPR and using an AED, AEDs are designed to coach you through the process, even if you haven’t had training. The device determines if a shock is necessary and if it is, a calm, clear voice explains exactly what to do. It actively adapts the instructions to keep you on track. Intelligent sensors assess and automatically deliver the right shock, at the right time ‐ personalized to every man, woman, or child.

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The use of AEDs in communities is associated with nearly a doubling of survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
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Learn about AEDs

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Why Philips

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Save stories

Everything you need to know about using AEDs

Watch this video to find out how to set up and maintain your OnSite AED. Other AEDs vary slightly but all Philips AEDs have simple, clear instructions telling you what to do.

Set-up your AED in minutes

Setting up your AED is easy. The automated external defibrillator guides you through the set-up process. The entire procedure is complete in just a few minutes and the device is ready to use.

Automatic self-tests make maintenance easy

Most of the maintenance on your AED is automatic. For example, Philips AEDs perform dozens of self-tests on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. In the rare case there’s a problem, the system chirps, alerting you to press the information button to find out more.


There are, however, two accessories that will eventually need to be replaced on every Philips AED—the pads and the battery. Whether you maintain one AED or dozens, there are solutions that help you track and manage your AEDs and their accessories.


Call technical support at 1-800-263-3342 for more information.


Once you have your AED set up, you need to make sure it is available when you need it. For help determining the number of AEDs you need, where they should be located, and how to make sure that people know where they are, call 1-800-225-0230 for more information.

Increase your chances for success with an AED program

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Having an AED is a good step toward saving a life, but it will be much more effective if it is within an AED program.


A good AED program includes working with your local EMS, choosing the right AED, locating the AEDs correctly, training, and ongoing maintenance. With a good implementation plan and proper training, people are prepared to deliver defibrillation quickly if it becomes necessary.


With the help of our partners, Philips provides guidance on setting up an AED program that's right for you.


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What to know before you buy an AED


Owning an AED

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1. USA KOL Johns Hopkins University Dr. Weidfeldt, Survival After Application of Automatic External Defibrillators Before Arrival of the Emergency Medical System: Evaluation in the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Population of 21 Million, 2010