AEDs in Schools

August 31, 2020 | Last Updated: October 13, 2021

Your local schools are likely a pillar of your community. On any given day, roughly 20% of the population in a community is at a school. It’s where hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people of all ages — students, teachers, staff, and even family members — gather everyday for learning, extracurricular activities such as sports and theater, and community events. 

Schools are well prepared to keep their students, staff, and community at large safe from health and safety risks such as fires and violence. So shouldn’t they also make sure that their campus is prepared to keep everyone safe from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), one of the leading causes of death in the United States?  

Fortunately, there’s a simple and effective solution to help schools be prepared to respond to a cardiac arrest emergency! Having AEDs readily accessible is proven to save the vast majority of people who go into SCA on school campuses. 

Join the movement and buy AEDs for your school to keep everyone — your students, teachers, coaches, trainers, staff, visitors, and community at large — safe! 


"I've lived through saving a life with an AED on a school campus, and to imagine an alternative outcome had we not had the AED, is absolutely unbearable. To me, having AEDs readily available is an obvious necessity, not a nice-to-have. School campuses are comprised of not only students, but also teachers, admin, coaches, support staff, and spectators of all ages for after school sports and activities. The thought of losing any life that could be saved, is a tragedy in itself. When I see an AED, I see a life saved. A family saved. Friends and colleagues saved. A community saved."

Christina Scherr

Head Athletic Trainer Westview High School (San Diego, CA)

Why Should Schools Buy AEDs for their Campus?

Let’s Start With the Facts

Sudden Cardiac Arrest leads to the death of approximately 350,000 adults per year. and is the leading cause of death for people over the age of 40. Tragically, youth are also at risk and are victims of SCA as well. A few alarming facts are:

  • SCA is the leading cause of death on school campuses
  • SCA is the leading cause of death for student-athletes
  • On average, SCA tragically takes the lives of between 7,000-10,000 youth every year, many of whom are non-athletes
Protect Your Students, Teachers, Staff, & Community at Large!

Most youth spend a majority of their time at school and many are legally required to attend. Students are on campus throughout the entire day, whether it’s in the classroom, on the field, at band practice, or with their debate club in the afternoon and evening. For that reason, parents reasonably expect that schools will have the necessary equipment and resources to keep their children safe. Similarly, all of the faculty and staff that spend most of their day on school campuses have the same expectation of their employer. 

Since both youth and adults alike are at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, schools need to invest in the deployment and strategic placement of AEDs to increase the likelihood of early defibrillation, and thus survival, in the event that anyone suffers SCA on campus. 

Having AEDs available can save the lives of students or staff during school hours, and also save the lives of family or community members that gather on campus for school plays or football games in the evening. 

Make sure your school is doing their part as a pillar of your community to prevent an unexpected, tragic, and preventable loss due to SCA by placing AEDs throughout your campus!

School AED Programs Save Lives

SCA survival rates for students have been shown to be approximately 70% at schools that have AEDs available. That’s over 7x higher than the national average survival rate from SCA!

With that being said, even though there’s been great success shown by simply placing AEDs on school campuses, experts recommend that it’s best to implement a comprehensive School AED Program which includes a well-rehearsed Cardiac Emergency Response Plan (CERP). It’s easy to see why, as research shows that schools that have installed AED Programs with a CERP have achieved SCA survival rates as high as 85%! 

Learn more about how to implement a successful Comprehensive School AED Program on your campus.

Frequently Asked Questions About School AEDs

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and what causes it?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. When a person goes into SCA, they will suddenly collapse and not respond nor breathe normally. They may gasp or shake as if having a seizure. If the victim does not get help right away, they will die within minutes. 

Normally, the heart beats in a coordinated pattern that is controlled by electrical impulses. These electrical signals tell the heart muscle when to contract so that it can effectively pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. During SCA, these signals become scrambled and cause an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia. Specifically, the heart enters what is called ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia, two deadly rhythms in which the heart is no longer able to pump blood to the brain or other vital organs. Learn more about arrhythmias and what causes sudden cardiac arrest! 

What does an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) do?
How do I make sure my school is prepared for a cardiac arrest emergency?
Is my school required to have an AED?
How many AEDs does my school need?
Who typically runs a School AED Program?
Where should I place the AEDs in my school?
How much do AEDs cost?
How should I fund my school’s AED program?
How do I keep my school’s AEDs maintained?
How often does a cardiac arrest emergency occur on a school campus?
Are AEDs proven to save lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest when placed on school campuses?

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