AED Placement is All About Response Time

How do I know how many AEDs to buy?

AED Placement depends on response time

Proper AED Placement

This article could also be titled “How many AEDs do I need for my company?” or “How do I know how many AEDs to buy?” Most of these questions follow the same theme. AED placement can lead to lots of discussion or stress when you try to account for locked and secluded areas of your facility, the number of people who work there, the average employee’s age, number of buildings on the property, the location of the closest EMS agency, and on and on.

To help you eliminate most “what if” questions, we recommend using the simple 3 to 5 minute “drop to shock” standard found in the American Heart Association’s AED Implementation Guide.

This is what it means: place AEDs so that anyone in cardiac arrest anywhere on the premises can receive a shock within 3 to 5 minutes of the onset of the condition. The questions above are no longer as relevant if you understand TIME is the critical factor. If locked doors, elevators, multiple buildings, etc. interfere with a 3 to 5 minute treatment time, then extra devices are recommended.

So where did this rule-of-thumb come from?  The AED implementation Guide was written using results from American Heart Association research. For every minute that defibrillation is delayed, a patient’s chance of survival decreases by as much as 10 per cent. A 5 minute AED delay reduces a patient’s odds of resuscitation to “50/50.”

Response time is precisely the reason EMS agencies nationwide have low cardiac arrest resuscitation rates in the field.

You can bridge the response time gap with enough properly located AEDs at your workplace!

S. Joanne Dames - MD, MPH

Updated: 2/21/2019

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