AED sign in an office setting

8 steps to a successful AED safety program

How to establish a robust and efficient plan

2-minute read

More than 350,000 people suffer from out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) every year in the United States alone.1 Public access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) is critical to help increase survival rates. Use this step-by-step guide on how to create and manage an AED program for your organization:

1. Designate a program coordinator – Before implementing an AED program, assign a dedicated program coordinator to serve as the point of contact for general program oversight, communicate with the public and facility employees and connect with key decision makers.

2. Research state and local requirements – Familiarize yourself with state and local requirements including training specifications, program enablement guidelines and how to work with your local EMS office.

3. Get medical advice – It is imperative to work with medical experts when establishing an AED program. They can serve as advocates of the overall program, provide needed authority when pitching a plan to decision makers and offer guidance and ongoing support once your program has launched.

4. Work with EMS – Most states require organizations to work with local EMS systems when setting up an AED program. Your local EMS office can help establish protocols on patient care transfer, data sharing and AED placement within your building.

5. Choose your AED – AEDs located in public spaces must be simple and easy to operate. Be sure to pick one that provides clear directions either visually or audibly. There are a variety of AED options on the market including Stryker’s compact and easy to use LIFEPAK CR2 defibrillator.

6. Create an AED management plan – Maintaining your device is vital for optimal AED functionality. While you could implement a self-administered management program with scheduled device testing, battery monitoring and expiration tracking, a program like Stryker’s LIFELINKcentral AED program manager eliminates the complexity and time commitments needed in maintaining AEDs.

7. Train employees on how to use an AED – Training all employees on how to use an AED can be difficult due to budget or time constraints. Alternatively, you can select and fully train a group of employees located throughout the building so a trained responder is nearby. The American Red Cross offers a variety of training services. Trained responders must know how to:

  • Recognize the warning signs of SCA
  • Respond to an emergency
  • Activate the local EMS
  • Perform CPR and use the AED properly

8. Raise awareness – Educating employees about the AEDs in your organization is key to increased success during a cardiac emergency. Create ongoing digital or on-site marketing campaigns to raise awareness.


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