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Implementing an AED Program in Schools: A Comprehensive Guide

Every year, thousands of children have fatal results from suffering sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) while at school. However, many of these deaths could be prevented with an automated external defibrillator (AED) program in place. Follow this step-by-step guide on implementing an AED program in your school. 

    • Understand the legal requirements for AEDs in schools based on your state regulations
    • Form a team responsible for developing and implementing the program, with each member assigned specific maintenance tasks
    • Set program goals, determine responsibilities, and develop a budget for AED maintenance  

    • Consider the features and types of AEDs available, such as the weight of the AED for on-the-go purposes and water/dust-resistant options
    • Choose suitable locations for AED placement, ensuring easy access, high-traffic areas, and visibility with signage
    • Install AEDs in easily accessible cabinets, preferably equipped with alarms to
      alert when accessed 

    • Provide training to staff members likely to be present during emergencies, including teachers, principals, coaches, and school nurses
    • Offer CPR/AED/First Aid courses to equip staff with the necessary skills
    • Educate students about SCA, CPR techniques, and the importance of using AEDs during emergencies
    • Conduct regular refresher training sessions for staff and incorporate CPR/AED courses into the curriculum 

    • Conduct drills to simulate emergency situations, allowing staff and students to practice their responses
    • Identify areas for improvement and ensure everyone knows what to do during an actual emergency 

    • Develop a maintenance plan, including regular inspection, testing, and replacement of expired or malfunctioning AEDs
    • Assign staff members to oversee specific maintenance tasks, such as disinfection and monitoring pad and battery expiration dates
    • Stay updated on state laws and requirements regarding AEDs, as they may change over time
    • Consider using an AED management Program to streamline AED ownership and compliance 

    • Analyze the rescue process to measure the impact of the AED program
    • Assess factors like the rescuer’s ability to identify SCA signs, promptness in calling emergency medical services, and timely access to the AED within a 3-4 minute timeframe
    • Evaluate the outcomes of rescue processes to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes 


To learn more about starting an AED program in your school, contact Heartsmart at [email protected] or fill out our contact us form. If you’d like a full visual PDF of the steps, please feel free to download the infographic version below:




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