Emergency response plan - review your Automated External Defibrillator (AED) response program


Health clubs loss control news - Vol. 1, 2019

Has your organization reviewed its automated external defibrillator (AED) response program lately? This goes beyond practice associated with how to use it during the rehearsal of cardiac pulmonary response (CPR) training. It includes educating staff on the location and overall accessibility of an AED should it be needed. Lack of response - due to staff being unaware of the location of the AED - is a common root cause of lawsuits filed against an organization.

State laws vary on which organizations are required to have an AED. Some of these organizations include schools, health clubs, sports clubs, gyms, day cares, dental offices, and swimming pools. You can learn more about organizations required to have AEDs and applicable state laws at the

According to the American Heart Association, with an AED program, a person will be better prepared to save the life of a coworker, friend, family member or stranger. With a good implementation plan and proper training, one can help save more lives.

Part of the implementation plan and proper training includes placement of an AED in an area that makes it readily accessible to anyone who may need to use it. The American Heart Association further outlines that effective AED programs are designed to deliver a shock to a victim within three to five minutes after the person collapses. Use a three-minute response time as a guideline to help you determine how many AEDs you need and where to place them. AEDs can be placed near elevators, cafeterias, main reception areas, in secured or restricted access areas and on walls in main corridors.

Now take a look at where your AED is located. Can you and/or your staff access it, return to the location where it is needed and begin using it within three minutes? If not, then you should take steps to meet this recommendation.

Another important component of an affective AED response includes proper maintenance of the equipment. The best maintenance guidelines come from the manufacturer of the AED.

The American Heart Association further recommends these additional steps to consider when implementing an AED program:

  • Get medical oversight - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may require a physician’s prescription to purchase an AED. The responsibilities of the physician may include signing off on or making recommendations on training plans and policies and procedures, evaluating data recorded on an AED during a medical emergency and helping assess each use of an AED to recommend any improvements.
  • Work with local EMS - Working with your local EMS system is a key step to implementing an AED program. Most states require you to coordinate your AED program with local EMS and to provide follow-up data to EMS after any use of the AED. In states that require registration or application for AED programs, the physician or program coordinator completes this process.
  • Choose an AED - There are several AEDs on the market that are suitable for a company’s or organization’s AED program. The American Heart Association does not recommend one device over another. The AED you choose should be simple and easy to use.
  • Contact technical support - Make sure you have technical support when your AED device requires it. Call the manufacturer’s technical support number and see what kind of response you get. Is a representative available to help you right away? Are you on hold for a long time? Does your call go to voice mail?
  • Make sure program support is available - Some AED manufacturers provide help with program implementation and ongoing support. They can assist with placement, medical authorization, registration, training and supplies. Review your capabilities and determine if services like these would be helpful in deploying your AED program.
  • Develop a training plan – AED users should be trained in CPR and the use of an AED. Training in the use of an AED can help increase the comfort and confidence level of responders. Some companies and organizations recruit and train employees as responders. Responders are trained in CPR and the use of an AED so someone is always available to respond to an emergency. The American Heart Association offers CPR AED training in a classroom setting and an eLearning format.
  • Raise awareness of the AED program - After initial implementation, provide information to all employees at your company about the AED program. You can use internal newsletters, posters, magnets, signage or other means to promote your AED program and identify where the devices are located. By continually raising awareness of the program, you reinforce to employees that your company or organization is committed to their safety.


Implementing an AED Program. American Heart Association. www.Cpr.heart.org. Dallas, TX.2018

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