I am a professional firefighter for the city of San Antonio. As most of what firefighters do these days is act primarily as first responders for ems calls, we are trained in emergency medicine. I have used an AED (we carry one on the fire truck)on many occasions throughout my career. I know there is a lot of support for the devices out there, as they are easy to use, and do have a somewhat proven track record of success. I say somewhat because AED's will only be useful for certain types of cardiac emergencies, they only shock certain arythmias of the heart, and never asytole (no heartbeat). In have been a firefighter for 12 years, and in the multitude of cardiac arrest calls I have made (probably in the range of at least 100), I would say that the AED has defibrillated far less than half of those. Most of the time it recommends no shock be delivered and we simply continue CPR until an EMS unit with more advanced life support equipment gets on scene. My point in all of this is that you would most likely be throwing away a lot of money purchasing a piece of equipment that you will probably never use, and if you are like most Aikido dojos, you are in a heavily populated area with advanced emergency medical care just minutes away...Now obviously if you could get one for free, through some kind of community grant program etc. then you shouldn't turn your nose up at it.
What I do highly recomend is everyone at the dojo (not just the instructors) take a class in first aid and CPR. A few years ago, I had an instructor come in and give a class to my old dojo's group, and the response was great. In this day and age, first aid courses are readily available and even taught in most public school systems, so there is no excuse for not having some exposure to basic CPR. Contact your local Red Cross, American Heart Association, or (my personal favorite
)your local fire department. You will find that the classes are very affordable, and usually they will even come to your dojo to teach them if you have enough people sign up.
Here is what we have in our first aid kit at the dojo:
bandages and gauze
cloth athletic tape
alcohol (isopropyl...the other type is for after practice
cold pads (if you have a freezer, ice is better...it also goes well with the "other" type of alcohol
tissue glue (this is great stuff, find it at the local drug store, sometimes called liquid band aid)
one way valve mask (for CPR)