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Office AED Programs

AEDs for offices are becoming a “standard-of-care.”
Does your office have one?

According to the American Heart Association, more than 100,000 people die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) outside of the home and hospital each year in the United States.Tragically, 2 out of 3 of these victims could actually have been saved with early CPR and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit.

SCA is a disruption in the heart’s electrical system that causes the heart to stop beating and prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching the victim’s brain and other vital organs. Without oxygen going to the brain, the first sign or symptom of SCA is when the victim suddenly collapses and loses consciousness. Without a “shock” from a defibrillator to restart their heart, they will die within minutes. In fact, with every minute that passes after the onset of SCA, a victim’s chances of survival decrease by 7-10%. Therefore,  the immediate application and use of an AED is critical for saving lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. SCA victims who get a shock from a bystander have 2.73x the odds of survival vs. victims who don’t get treatment until Emergency Medical Services Arrive. Learn more about the importance of responding to SCA as fast as possible.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, and is the leading cause of death for people over the age of 40. SCA can be unpredictable and can happen to people who are seemingly healthy.  Given this, it is important that businesses prepare for SCA by placing AED units throughout their facility to protect their employees and visitors. 

The only therapy to treat someone in SCA is a life-saving defibrillation shock from an AED!

“Please consider installing AEDs in your workplace.”

 – Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The probability that a workplace will experience an SCA emergency increases as their population increases. So, businesses with a lot of employees or visitors, perhaps a corporate campus or big-box store, are more likely to encounter someone in SCA. Additionally, businesses in busy areas or with lots of foot traffic are likely to have a cardiac arrest emergency onsite or nearby. 

You might be thinking,“we are a small business, why do we need an AED machine?”

While small businesses may not have as many employees or patrons as enterprise companies, AEDs are still tremendously valuable for protecting your staff and customers.  Here are a few reasons AEDs are important, no matter the size of your business! 

  • Having AEDs available and accessible at your business will protect all the customers and visitors that come through your doors. Here’s a story of a restaurant with an AED that saved their customer’s life.
  • AEDs also create a safer workplace for your employees. This quick-thinking co-worker saved her colleague’s life.
  • AEDs can be used by others to save lives at your business. This gym-goer rescued a 16-year-old girl who went into SCA while on the treadmill. 
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, encountering someone in SCA isn’t a matter of if, but when.
  • AEDs are simple to use. There are many well-researched publications proving even children can use AEDs! (link to a story of children using AEDs)

Buying and properly managing an AED allows you to access strong Good Samaritan protections that don’t otherwise exist if you don’t have AEDs

“Why aren’t you concerned about your customers and guests? ….If you don’t have an AED, do you want to be in tomorrow’s newspaper as the store that cared for someone so somebody was saved or that you didn’t care for someone to put in an AED? And then someone lost their life that could have been saved. I also tell the shop owners, if someone is going to have a cardiac arrest here, it’s most likely going to be you and you’re likely the one who’s going to be saved. So I ask, ‘would you be concerned about liability if it was your life being saved?’ And the answer is always ‘no.’”
Steve Tannebaum, liability attorney and cardiac arrest survivor

Choosing an AED for Your Workplace

If you are unfamiliar with AEDs, choosing the right type of unit for your office might feel overwhelming at first.? The good news is that AEDs are so simple to operate that you don’t have to have a medical degree to use them! We’ve put together this guide to help you choose the best AED for your office


Buying AEDs for your office

Buying AEDs for your workplace is one of the most important investments in occupational safety and emergency preparedness that you can make. Having AEDs at work is also a growing expectation. According to a Harris Interactive poll (2008) of 1,132 people, 45% of people think it’s important to have AEDs available at their workplace.

Beyond simply fulfilling an expectation, providing life-saving technology shows you care about the health and safety of your employees and customers. But, while your employees want AEDs, and you likely want to provide units for the workplace, there’s still the matter of how much AEDs cost. Whether you’ve searched for AED grants for your small business or free AEDs, the price tag may make  you question whether or not their value is worth the investment. While there is no price that can be placed on the value of a life saved, we’ve also compiled some resources on how to buy AEDs for your office.

Guidelines for your office AED program

While AED machines are easy to use, there are some simple things you can do to make sure your office AED program is successful. 

  • Provide widespread CPR and AED training for your employees
  • Spread about awareness about the AEDs and your commitment to protecting employees and visitors. According to the American Heart Association’s “Workplace Training Initiative” ⅔ of workers in the US cannot locate the AED at their place of work. Increased awareness will lead to better emergency preparedness 
  • Assemble a team of individuals at your workplace to help oversee your AED program to ensure that your AEDs are maintained, functional, and always ready to save a life

For more ideas on how to implement your office’s AED program, check out our guidelines for office AED program success. 

Types of buildings that should have AEDs

While certain locations are legally required to have AEDs, many other types of buildings and businesses should also have them.

“Our campaign calls upon decision-makers in workplaces … to place AEDs in the same locations as a fire extinguisher.”  – Michael Kurz, MD, chair of the American Heart Association’s Systems of Care Subcommittee and associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Every state sets their own AED requirements, so check to see whether the AED laws in your state are relevant to your business. However, generally speaking, the following guidelines are common:

Locations Often Required to Have an AED:

  • Fitness facilities, like health clubs and gyms
  • Schools
  • City, State, and Federal buildings
  • Large gathering areas, like theme parks and stadiums
  • Dental offices

Locations that Should Consider Purchasing AEDs:

  • Areas home to large populations, such as large office buildings and big-box stores
  • Malls and shopping centers
  • Pharmacies
  • Free-standing medical clinics, urgent care centers, and rehabilitation facilities

Learn more about the types of buildings that should have AEDs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Office AEDs

How to get office permission for an AED?

All businesses operate differently, so there’s no standard approach to getting authorization for an AED. Small offices, for instance, may not require explicit permission. Obtaining support for an AED might be a quick conversation since owners and managers know that installing an AED is the right thing to do. Large, multinational organizations likely have a different process that involves multiple departments such as facilities for AED placement and device selection, HR/Human Resources for training and program awareness, and Risk Management for evaluating the AED program. 

One successful approach is to research AEDs and present that information to the head of Human Resources and Risk Management. We recommend you gather facts about sudden cardiac arrest as well as information about how easy AEDs are to use, purchase, and manage. Sharing the stories of SCA victims and survivors can also highlight the value of AEDs. Generating buy-in from folks in Human Resources and Risk Management can help you push the initiative forward! 

Is an AED standard for a family doctor’s office?

There is no federal law that requires family physicians to have an AED machine. Surprisingly, few primary care offices have these life-saving devices. No national market surveys exist to address this question, so it’s difficult to provide a specific range or percentage of family physicians equipped with AEDs. However, subjective data would indicate that the adoption rate is very low, despite being a great place for life-saving technology.

Can a business be sued for having an AED and not using it?

With any legal advice, you should always check with your attorney for facts relevant to your situation and industry. But, as you might imagine, lawsuits can arise for many reasons. We suggest that you ask your council for the nature and outcome of different lawsuits, since many times, just because a case is filed doesn’t mean there was a ruling or judgment.

In the AED industry, we’ve seen lawsuits for:

  • Not having an AED at all 
  • Not managing an AED properly so that it was consequently not ready for emergency use

To help encourage AED adoption, state AED laws do NOT require laypeople to use the AEDs that they may own. These laws also offer strong immunity protections if AED owners properly manage their devices.

Does a business need prescription oxygen with an AED?

No. AED units do not require oxygen to operate. Oxygen may be added to your emergency response kit, however, we’re not aware of any requirement to include oxygen with an AED.

What is the liability for not having an AED in a business?

As with any legal advice, always check with your business’ council. In general, only a court can determine liability, and monetary damages vary tremendously from one organization to the next. 

There have been lawsuits related to not having an AED, however, it is common for settlements to occur prior to a jury decision. Additionally, most judgments are sealed. 

While we cannot offer you legal advice, our opinion is that the benefits of owning an AED (including general liability insurance coverage and the strong immunity protection offered by meeting a few easy obligations) greatly outweigh the costs of purchasing the equipment. Thus, instead of hoping you avoid liability for not having an AED at your business, you can get liability protection easily and affordably with AED ownership.

How to choose an AED for a small business?

Choosing an AED for a small business is easy. We put together this resource to help you learn more.

Do I need a prescription for an AED?

Yes. AED units are Class III medical devices and regulated by the FDA’s pre-market approval process (PMA). As such, they’re prescriptive devices. 

How do I get an AED for my business?

There are several ways to get an AED for your business:

  • Perform a web search and find a vendor
  • Call the FDA-approved AED manufacturers

We’ve put together this resource to give you more background on the process and guidelines for getting an AED.

Your Title Goes I already have AEDs. Do I need to replace them?Here


You may or may not need to replace your AEDs.

  • First, check to make sure that your AEDs don’t require any routine maintenance, like buying a new battery or pair of electrode pads
  • Next, check with your AED manufacturer to see if your AED needs any updates or was subject to a recall
  • Then, evaluate your AED’s warranty and current indemnification policy. Check with your manufacturer if you aren’t aware of these details or need help finding the information

If your AED program meets any of these requirements, you might consider replacing them with new technology. While AEDs are meant to last for many years, you aren’t using the same cell phone or computer as you were eight years ago, so why should you be using old technology for your life-saving AED?

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