Getting an AED for a Business: What You Need to Know

After considering why you should get an AED for your office and what is the best office AED, you may be wondering how to buy one. 

The process of buying and installing an AED at your workplace is actually pretty simple. Below, we’ll share what you need to know.

Steps to Implementing an AED program

In 2012, the American Heart Association created a brochure detailing how businesses should implement an AED program.

The AHA’s guide offers the following steps:

  1. Get Medical Oversight
  2. Work with local EMS
  3. Choose an AED
  4. Contact technical support
  5. Make sure program support is available
  6. Develop a training plan
  7. Raise awareness of the AED program
  8. Implement an ongoing maintenance program

While many of these steps are good practice, advancements in AED technology render some of the steps outdated and no longer relevant. 

Here’s our analysis of the AHA’s recommendations and what we think matters today:

AHA Step 1: Get Medical Oversight 

Do you need this step: Yes (but it’s easy!)

While many states still require physician oversight and ongoing “medical direction,” the trend has been for the states to remove these requirements. State policy-makers, like those in California, have come to realize that the physician involvement in AED programs is burdensome and may be a barrier to businesses buying AEDs, so they’ve removed some of the requirements originally imposed. 

Additionally, to help organizations meet these AED requirements, AED manufacturers and distributors have come up with helpful medical oversight programs that can be provided with your office’s AED purchase. Though it might sound complicated, medical oversight is relatively straightforward. 

AHA Step 2: Work with local EMS 

Do you need this step: No

Fire and EMS agencies are advocates for AED programs, and they should be able to answer any questions you might have. However, AEDs have become so popular that Fire and EMS involvement is no longer required when you’re getting an AED for your business. 

In some states, AED owners need to “register” their AED with the local EMS agency, but we don’t feel that there’s an urgent need to contact EMS before buying an AED for your workplace.

AHA Step 4: Contact technical support

Do you need this step: No (if you buy the right AED!)

The American Heart Association’s recommendation to call an AED manufacturer’s technical support department before buying an AED likely stems from prior industry failures and AED recalls. An AED manufacturer’s ability to handle a recall is very important, but we recommend that you ascribe more value to how the AED gets updated.

Some AEDs are easy to update while others require special adaptors and laptops to manually update each unit. Here’s our analysis of the process for each AED to be upgraded.

Choosing an AED that is easy to update in the field eliminates this need to call technical support prior to purchasing.

AHA Step 5: Make sure program support is available

Do you need this step: No

Program support is loosely defined as receiving help with “AED placement, medical authorization, registration, training, and supplies.”

As of 2020, all AED manufacturers and their authorized distributors can handle these services. Many of these services may not be required, and if they are, it’s possible that they’re included by the manufacturer for no charge. 

While we believe that you should make sure that the manufacturer of your office AED is supportive, we don’t think you need to spend too much time on this step.

AHA Step 6: Develop a training plan

Do you need this step: Yes

CPR and AED training is important!  We recommend you put a training program in place that regularly trains personnel on the type of AED units in your office.

Buying an AED that converts to a training device is a great way to avoid the added cost of buying a separate trainer and also ensures that you can train employees for years to come.

AHA Step 7: Raise awareness about the AED program

Do you need this step: Yes

Awareness of your program is vital. You never know who might need the AED or who might be required to use it, so broad awareness is crucial to the success of your program.

AHA Step 8: Implement an ongoing maintenance program

Do you need this step: Yes

If you purchased a “connected” AED, then your AED program maintenance is much easier than if you own less advanced devices. 

At a minimum, you should know who is responsible for each AED at each location to make sure that all of your AEDs are ready to be used in a rescue. Additionally, consult your AED user manual for specific device maintenance instructions. 

How to get an AED for your office in 2020 and beyond

Summarizing the AHA’s recommendations and updating them for today, the best steps to get an AED for your office are to:

  1. Determine who’s going to be in charge. Who is selecting the AED and who will manage  maintenance like replacing expired electrode pads in the years to come?
  2. Figure out the best AED for your needs by considering the available options and calling AED manufacturer to learn more
  3. Develop a CPR/AED training plan
  4. Make sure you have identified stakeholders to oversee and promote AED awareness for all locations
  5. Buy and deploy your new AEDs!

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