Fact Sheet

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Prompt and accurate electric shock treatment can literally be the difference between life and death for an employee or volunteer who experiences abrupt and sudden loss of heart function due to chaotic, abnormal chaotic heart activity. According to the American Heart Association, a person suffering cardiac arrest literally has minutes to live and responding with an AED within those minutes will mean the difference between life and death for the victim. More than 250,000 sudden cardiac deaths occur each year; many happen in the workplace. The person may or may not have previous diagnosis of heart disease.

The combination of automated external defibrillators and training can save 50,000 of the 250,000 lives lost annually to sudden cardiac death, many of which occur in the workplace. Although AEDs may be leased or purchased, the $3,000 price that includes training and an extra battery is still out of the reach of most nonprofits. However, as with other technological equipment, the price will probably come down. State and federal legislation, and the American Heart Association, support access and use of AEDs to reduce such deaths. For now, know that rapid intervention is essential to saving a staff member's life. More and more public entities (airports, police, fire, ambulance) are budgeting to purchase the equipment.

Purpose: Quickly and effectively restore heartbeat and blood flow
Who: Non-medical and minimally trained personnel
Why: CPR alone can't fully restore blood flow and doesn't restore heart rhythm.
Where: Onsite (office, warehouse, retail operation, camp, daycare facility, etc.)
How: Small portable automated external defibrillator units
When: Immediately following sudden cardiac arrest

AEDs

Resources

Chain of Survival Fact Sheet

Sudden Cardiac Death, American Heart Association

State Laws on Heart Attacks & Defibrillators, National Conference of State Legislatures

AED Checklist