Ohio’s legislature has amended an act regulating the use of AEDs. The bill was signed into law last December and will go into effect on March 23rd, 2015. The act summary states “any person may perform automated external defibrillation (AED) and that training in AED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is recommended but not required.” The amendment also provides “qualified immunity from civil liability to premises owners and other persons involved with automated external defibrillator placement and use.”
Additionally the new law “modifies the standards that must be met by a person possessing a defibrillator by requiring that the person encourage (rather than require) expected users to successfully complete a course in AED and eliminates a requirement that a person possessing a defibrillator consult with a physician.” The new law does not provide immunity in cases of “willful or wanton misconduct.”
Training in CPR/AED is always recommended, but the fact is AEDs have been designed to be used by untrained individuals. AEDs give audio instructions to the rescuer and most have visual cues to assist in the process. AEDs will not deliver a shock unless a treatable rhythm (fibrillation) is detected.
It is hoped the new law will help eliminate the trepidation experienced by potential rescuers when an AED is involved. Fears of liability, litigation, and failure are common in rescue situations. If an AED is available it still requires someone to use it without hesitation and without fear of repercussions. Laws such as this one go a long way toward reaching those goals.