You are here: Home > AED Implementation > AED FAQ
We have complied our most frequently asked questions about AED's and AED programs to help you better understand the importance of AED's.

What is an AED?
Why are AED's important?
Isn't CPR good enough?
Why put AED's in schools?
How likely is it that we would use our AED?
What is my liability for using a AED?
Do I need to be trained in order to use an AED?
What is the process for setting up an AED program?
What laws do I need to know about when setting up an AED program?
Is there grant money available for an AED program?
What is the best AED?
Do I need to maintain the AED once I have it?
Can AED's be upgraded?

What is an AED?

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. An AED is a small electronic device used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. Most of the time when someone has experienced cardiac arrest their heart is in a condition called "ventricular fibrillation" or uncontrolled electrical chaos. A defibrillator is designed to wipe out the chaos in hopes that the hearts own intrinsic pacemaker is strong enough to start again in a more organized rhythm. In the past CPR is all we had to help someone who was in Cardiac Arrest. We now know that by starting early CPR and defibrillation the victim within the first 3-5 minutes we can significantly increase the victims chances of survival.

Why are AED's important?
Many studies tell us that the out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates are around the 4% mark, mostly due to the lack of early intervention of CPR and defibrillation. The persons chances of survival during cardiac arrest are directly related to the time it takes for CPR and defibrillation to arrive with the chances of survival decreasing by about 10% every minute without a defibrillator. The average response time in the US is around 8-1/2 minutes and even longer in rural areas and congested cities. By making AED's available to bystanders and people who get there first, the chances of survival can be increased significantly. As the public becomes more aware of AED's and their importance, there is going to be a greater expectation of AED's in public places.  

Isn't CPR good enough?
CPR is still a very important piece in the chain of survival, especially in children. CPR alone is not enough in adult victims suffering cardiac arrest. CPR provides victims with oxygenated blood to their brain and heart muscle and keeps them somewhat "viable" until a defibrillator arrives. CPR helps "buy you some time". Keep in mind that the heart is typically quivering chaotically and if you are able to quickly wipe out the electrical chaos, hopefully the hearts own pacemaker is still strong enough to start again normally on its own. CPR should not be minimized though. During cardiac arrest, defibrillation is indicated about 60-80% of the time, however CPR is indicated 100% of the time. How do you know? An AED will tell you. It is important to know good CPR and how to use an AED.

Why put AED's in schools?
It is difficult to imagine too many other places that get the use of a school. Schools are typically gathering places for students (of course), teachers, parents and visitors. Schools are often designated disaster shelters in the event of emergency and are widely used for sporting events, community events and other large community gatherings. Children are not immune from cardiac arrest, in fact there are many studies that suggest that nearly 1 in 500 children have undiagnosed heart conditions. One death of a student or teacher can have a devastating effect on a school and a community. AED's are becoming standard equipment for schools and some states are mandating that AED's be placed in all public schools. AED's have been used successfully in many schools across the US. So why put AED's in schools? Not just for the students, but for the teachers, staff, parents and the community also. Why put AED's in schools?

How likely is it that we use our AED?
We hope you never have to use your AED but, we have had customers who have used their AED 3 times in 3 years. Studies show 34% of facilities that have implemented an AED program have used their AED. 13% of all workplace fatalities are due to cardiac arrest. We hope that your AED collects dust, but it is a good feeling know that you are better prepared for the unexpected emergency.

What is my liability for using an AED?
All 50 states have legislation that protects users for using an AED. Most states provide conditional civil immunity as long as the user has appropriate training. As a company you should evaluate your risks and benefits of implementing an AED program. Many legal experts agree that companies that provide AED's as part of an overall health and safety program are at a lower legal risk then those who don't provide AED's. To date there have been numerous legal judgements against companies for not providing "adequate emergency care" during cardiac arrest incidents. To date we are not aware of any lawsuits involving AED's that were used to save a life. For more information visit our AED laws by state page or our AED implementation section.

Do I need to be trained to use an AED?

Yes, although AED's are very easy to use, you should be training in CPR and the use of an AED. There are many studies out now that suggest that untrained responders are "capable" of using the AED to save a life. Using an AED is only half of the battle, the other half is providing good CPR, which takes practice. Most state AED laws provide immunity for "trained" AED rescuers. CPR and AED training is worth the time and usually cost between $30 and $50 every 2 years. Practice makes perfect!

What is the process for setting up a successful AED program?

We have outlined the AED implementation process in our AED implementation page.

What laws do I need to know when setting up an AED program?
You can visit our AED laws by state page or our AED implementation page for more information.

Is there grant money available for AED?
There are some resources available for AED grant funding. Check out our AED Grants page for more information and other funding ideas for your AED program.

What is the best AED?
All AED's are great and all are approved by the FDA. While we don't recommend one AED over another. The type of AED you purchase will depend on various factors. We have complied a AED Buyers guide to help you navigate which AED is best for your situation.

Do I need to maintain my AED?
The maintenance required to maintain an AED is minimal but it is important. AED's have built in self checks to help assure readiness. It is important to check AED's at least monthly or more frequently to verify readiness. You should checkout our AED maintenance page for specific infomation about how to check your AED.

Can AED's be upgraded?

Yes. For more information about AED Upgrades visit our AED Upgrades page.