Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Placement for Gyms and Sports

September 02, 2020 | Last Updated: July 27, 2021

Perhaps you’re thinking about getting an AED, or maybe you already have one. Great! You are making sure that your gym, sports clubs, or athletic facility is ready to save lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. 

So where do you put a defibrillator? How many AED devices do you need? This guide will help provide you with answers to those questions. 

AED Placement – How Many AEDs Does a Gym Need?

The most important thing to consider when placing one or multiple AEDs is Time-To-Defibrillation: the amount of time that elapses between when someone suffers Sudden Cardiac Arrest and when they receive a defibrillation shock from an AED. The more time that elapses between the onset of SCA and treatment with an AED, the less likely a victim is to survive. In fact, every minute that passes without a shock from an AED, the patient’s chances of survival decrease by 7-10%.


It is critical to place an AED where it can be accessed easily and quickly! You want to make sure the AED is within a 2-minute walking round trip of any location where an emergency could occur. 

Gyms, athletic complexes, and fitness centers with large facilities should have more than one AED to ensure that a defibrillator can always be retrieved for an emergency within 2 minutes from anywhere onsite. In other words, visitors and staff should never be more than a 1-minute walk away from an AED in the facility.


AED Placement – Where Should Gyms Put AEDs?

Once you determine where and how many AEDs are needed, it is important to make sure that they are clearly visible and easy to access. Be sure that the height of the AED does not exceed 48 inches to ensure universal accessibility. Defibrillators should be stored in a highly visible and clearly marked location. 

Pro Tip: Place AEDs near other identifiable objects so that when directing someone to an AED you can say something like “it’s to the left of the vending machine.”


Obscure cabinets, locked offices, and closets are no place for an AED!

Important factors to consider: 

  • All staff and personnel should know where the AEDs are located. There should be at least one staff member at all times who is trained in using an AED. When training new staff or giving tours to new members, show them the location of the AED!
  • Place AEDs in high-risk areas where physical activity is performed
  • Place AEDs in high occupancy areas where the device is immediately visible to a large number of people
  • Consider time-restricting factors such as elevator delays, stairs, and restricted access that can interfere with 2-minute AED retrieval
  • Given their background, training, and proximity to athletes who are at higher risk, athletic trainers are important people to respond to cardiac arrest. Check out Avive’s AED guide for athletic trainers. 

The right AED placement combined with the right level of training saves lives. Check out some of our favorite AED save stories in fitness facilities.


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