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AED For Outdoor Adventures

AED For Outdoor Adventures

If you have been inside a large public building anytime in the past few decades, you may have noticed the presence of an AED–an automatic external defibrillator–in a box on the wall. This lifesaving equipment, which provides an electric shock to the chest of someone suffering from a disrupted hearth rhythm, has decreased in cost and size over the years, leading more people to contemplate its use in the outdoors.

Safety while adventuring outdoors is frequently at the forefront of all of our minds. Many of us do (and all of us should!) bring a first aid kit along for hiking, camping, biking, and other outdoor activities.

But what about more severe situations? Is an AED for outdoor adventures something your family should consider?

Heart health isn’t necessarily a primary concern for many families with small children. However, as more families get into the outdoors, and the means to do so offers accessibility for more demographics, preparation for various ages and health conditions is a growing consideration.

Long-term side effects related to Covid, even for children and young adults, have also brought heart health issues into an even more prominent light.

Affordable AED Unit **Coupon**

Be sure to click through the links on this post to check out the AED units we recommend – Rescue One has provided a generous coupon that you can claim through that link (coupon expires 12/31/2022)!

AED Giveaway!!

Want to win one? Of course you do! Go here to enter to win!

A woman shows a teenager how to use a portable AED.
Showing my teenage daughter how to use the AED.

All About the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P/360P AED

Courtesy of Rescue One, I had the opportunity to take an AED on a camping trip with my family, as well as to an outdoor family reunion with a large extended group of all ages. This was a great way to test out an AED for outdoor adventures and see how the unit stands up!

Rescue One is an authorized American Heart Association training center and provides several CPR and first aid training programs, in addition to emergency and first aid equipment such as the AED. They even offer AED rentals for long and short term use, such as a special event or excursion.

Stock image of HeartSine Samaritan AED

The semi-automatic HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P (SAM 350P) and fully automatic HeartSine samaritan PAD 360P (SAM 360P) offer industry-leading value and environmental protection, all in an easy-to-operate system in the smallest and lightest package available.

Rescue One

HeartSine Samaritan® PAD 350P and 360P Details

  • The HeartSine Samaritan AED weighs 2.4 pounds and, including the carrying case, is about the size of a personal lunchbox (8.0 in x 7.25 in x 1.9 in )
  • User friendly with easy to follow visual and voice prompts which includes CPR instruction
  • A status light flashes to show that the unit is ready and can also help you find it in the dark
  • Works with Adults and Children – The Pediatric Pad-Pak is available for 1-8 years of age or up to 55 lbs. (extra $236)
  • Pad-Pak cartridges keep expiration simple, one cartridge contains pads and battery with one expiration date and each pack lasts 4 years.

Environmental Details for HeartSine Samaritan AED for Outdoor Adventures

  • Operating temperature range of 32°F to 122°F (0°C to 50°C), unit can withstand temps to 14°F
  • IP56 rating – making sure the AED is protected from dust and moisture
  • Shock and vibration resistant
  • Relative Humidity operating range is 5% to 95% (non-condensing)
  • Works from 0 to 15,000 feet of elevation

What’s Included with the HeartSine Samaritan AED?

There are two zippered compartments–one that contains the actual AED, and one that contains some additional first aid equipment, such as a CPR mask, gauze, gloves, and scissors.

  • 8 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty
  • Adult Pad-Pak (electrode pads/battery combo pack)
  • User Manual
  • Quick Reference Card
  • Carrying Case
  • Training DVD
  • CPR/AED Ready Kit (scissors, mask, gloves, etc)
  • Inspection / Maintenance Tag
  • “AED Equipped Facility” Decal
  • Lifetime AED Tracking/Monitoring

The HeartSine Samaritan® PAD 350P and 360P from Rescue One is half the size of many public defibrillators and costs $1350. This is notably less than larger AEDs, which can cost $2500 or more. The decreased size and cost make this a good candidate for an AED for outdoor adventures.

You can click through this link to get a very generous discount this fall (2022) only!

Despite the relatively low cost compared to related products, it’s still a significant purchase and deserves serious consideration of your individual needs and health risks.

A portable AED sits in a cart with a blurred image of a girl and trees in the background.
The portable AED easily tags along on our outdoor adventures.

Heart Health

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is the third-leading cause of death for adult men in the outdoors, and accounts for half of all mountain-climbing and skiing-related deaths, according to the National Institute for Health. This isn’t because the mountains are covered with elderly or unhealthy hikers–rather, it’s often adults in their 40s and 50s who are pushing themselves beyond their usual habits, and in climates they aren’t used to.

The greatest risk presents on the first day of a challenging outdoor adventure, especially one at an increased elevation, as eager hikers jump right onto the trail. Women haven’t been studied as well as men in this regard as their likelihood of suffering sudden cardiac death is lower in general, but heart issues are still the leading cause of death for adult women and it’s likely that their risk factors are similarly proportioned to men’s while outdoors.

AEDs are Proven Lifesavers

AEDs, when used alongside quality CPR, can double the chances of surviving a cardiac event!

Odds of surviving sudden cardiac arrest decrease approximately 7% per minute for the first three minutes, and 10% per minute after that. When AEDs are present, they are consistently able to be administered within 3 minutes by non-medical people, even older children.

AEDs are not a replacement for CPR or quality medical care, but can provide true and tangible benefits. Traveling with an AED for outdoor adventures not only benefits your group, but could help save the life of a stranger you encounter on the trail.

AEDs are Easy to Use

In addition to being quick to implement, AEDs are typically equipped with both visual and audio instructions, designed for use by even those who have had no prior training. While CPR does require training and a certain level of physical strength, AEDs can be used by people who wouldn’t typically have the strength to perform quality CPR.

AED Training and Storage

Teaching Children When and How to Use an AED

My children, ages 15 down to 5, were all eager to learn how to use the AED. It was a great opportunity to review general emergency procedures, especially to immediately alert an adult or call 911 if someone is unresponsive. Anyone who is planning on spending time outdoors should have a simple plan for dealing with a medical emergency and discuss it with their children.

Age is a subjective factor in assessing capability to use the AED. My 6 year old paid close attention to the instructions I gave and was easily able to repeat them correctly, but my 8 year old was less focused. Regardless of temperament, it’s a lot to ask for a small child to be able to properly assess if retrieving an AED is warranted, and based on what I saw in my small sample size, age 10-12 seems like the lower limit of both physical and mental capacity to administer the equipment.

That said, the verbal commands were loud and straightforward, and it only took 5 minutes of basic instruction from me for everyone to follow along and express confidence that they could utilize if needed. Additionally, a 10 year old may struggle to complete even one minute of effective CPR on a full-sized adult, but with the AED, a 60 pound child, like my 10 year old daughter, is potentially able to perform a similarly lifesaving operation on a 200+ pound adult.

A portable AED sits on a picnic table with a camping tent in the background.
The AED is easy to have along for camping trips.

AED for Outdoor Adventures

I took the AED on a hiking and camping weekend, and to a family reunion at a large outdoor park. It was easy to slip into my backpack alongside snacks and water on hikes, and the light weight meant I barely noticed it.

We were car camping, so I stored the device in our van overnight, but it is designed to be able to withstand dust, humidity, and fairly dramatic temperature swings (14°F to 122°F for up to two days), so we could have easily kept it in the tent with us or carried it while mountain hiking or skiing.

Storage at Home and Outdoors

To store an AED for effective use at home, it needs to be quickly accessible in an emergency. A mud room or garage, or even a pantry or bookshelf could all be appropriate locations. We keep ours on a shelf in our front hall closet with our emergency flashlights and extra batteries, where it is out of reach of daily life activity, but won’t get buried and hard to find if it is needed.

The HeartSine Samaritan AED, like all AEDs, will not shock a patient unless their heath rhythm supports a electric shock. So while it’s not a toy, if your children find the equipment and get into it, they won’t accidentally shock themselves. The battery pack is guaranteed for four years.

Batteries and a portable AED sit on a closet shelf.
Accessible at home on a main floor closet shelf.

Additional Needs for an AED for Outdoor Adventures

Amateur and Pro Guided Tours are in High Demand

The number of people outside, of all ages and demographics, has dramatically increased in the past several years. Recreators want to get the most out of their experience and hire or join adventure groups and tours.

Certainly, there are plenty of paid excursions available where the guides want to offer the best possible health and safety protocols to their clients. However, there are a growing number of lay people that occasionally offer group events, not professionally guided, but joint ventures for folks with common outdoor interests, organized by experienced but not professional outdoors people.

Health History Unknown for Participants

Whether it is a casual moms hike in a national park, a professionally guided whitewater rafting tour, or an amateur gathering of like-minded backpackers, the health and physical capability of the participants can be uncertain.

Especially when adventurers may be traveling to elevations or climates they aren’t used to, the risk of a heart attack is a rare but not insignificant one, and medical services can take time to reach. A personal AED could be a very reassuring and beneficial addition to your leadership kit, no matter the level of professionalism for your event.

A woman puts a portable AED into a backpack.
The AED was easy to slip into my daypack for hiking.

Remote Rental Homes

Many people are also choosing to utilize rental home services rather than traditional hotels. These homes can be located close to medical services, but it’s not unusual for them to be much more remote, where ambulatory time can be significantly increased. Regular families are often the proprietors of these homes and looking to provide appropriate resources for visitors.

Hotels and resorts have procedures for medical emergencies, but a rental home is just like our homes, reliant on the people inside to make emergent medical decisions. An AED on hand could be the difference between life and death for guests waiting on an ambulance.

Wilderness Events

Wilderness retreats for businesses looking to enjoy a team-building or rejuvenation event have always been popular. Weddings and other special events also frequently take place outdoors or in semi-remote locations, chosen for their beautiful scenery, not for their proximity to health services.

It’s not uncommon for events such as these to include guests who are at an elevated risk of a heart attack, and there may not always be an AED already located on the premises. In these cases, a personal AED may not only be lifesaving, but it could provide additional liability protection.

What I Love About the HeartSine Samaritan AED

Reassuring Medical Emergency Benefits

I really believe in the benefit of AEDs. With statistics showing twice the likelihood of surviving a cardiac event when one is used, how can you not?

So many outdoor locations, including the campground where we were staying, have an unreliable cell signal and at least a moderate drive to medical services. It is very reassuring to have an AED immediately present so that lifesaving treatment can begin right away while someone goes for help or a better telephone signal.

Easy to Carry

It was lightweight and easy to have on hand. The device is only 2.4 pounds, approximately the same as a liter of water. I had no trouble adding it to my day pack and carrying it around for what ended up being about 10 miles of hiking.

Easy to Use

It’s accessible for a wide demographic of users. A child, teenager, or elderly person can all utilize an AED. CPR, another essential component of outdoor safety, can exhaust an adult after merely 10 minutes, but an AED doesn’t require any particular level of strength.

What I Don’t Love About the HeartSine Samaritan AED

Additional Weight

2.4 pounds isn’t particularly heavy, but it’s not nothing. At some point that small amount does become burdensome.

When we are adventuring outdoors, tough choices have to be made about what is worth carrying, and a device, however amazing, that feels unlikely to be used is one that might get left behind. And thankfully, many people do have a very low risk of suffering a cardiac event.

Cost Barrier

In that same vein, $1350 is far less than the value of a life, but could still be a barrier for many families, especially if they feel like their age and health doesn’t put them in a particularly at-risk category. The price of outdoor equipment is already intimidating to a lot of people, and a personal AED could be another item on that list.

You can click through this link to get a very generous discount this fall (2022) only!

A small boy sits in grass next to a portable AED.
My kids were very impressed with the AED and wanted to be in on learning to use it!

Is an AED Right for Your Family?

There are a lot of factors to consider when making a decision about a personal AED, and everyone should do a risk assessment of their individual situation.

Those who regularly lead outdoor adventure excursions, especially ones at elevation, and those who rent homes or event space in rural or remote areas, could certainly benefit from being able to provide their guests and companions with that additional protection.

As far as a typical family, it really comes down to comfort level with risk. There is no doubt that AEDs provide immense benefit when they are needed, even if the likelihood of need is low. If you hike or ski in elevated areas, have an increased risk of a cardiac event, perhaps from a previous heart attack, or frequently spend time with those who do, those are all risk-raising factors to put into the equation.

Whether you pursue an personal AED for outdoor adventures or home use, knowing how to use one and learning how to perform CPR, will add great first aid skills to your outdoor adventure toolbelt. Make an emergency plan with your children as well. No one ever expects a medical emergency on an adventure, but they happen all the time, and being prepared for one will set up your family well!

Additional Resources

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