The Safety Benefits of AEDs in Schools: A Lifesaving Discussion

Schools play a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of their students and staff. While they are prepared for major emergencies like fires and natural disasters, another crucial aspect of emergency preparedness is dealing with sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Believe it or not, cardiac arrest can strike children just as often as adults, and it is even more prevalent in athletes.

All it takes for a swift and effective response to such emergencies is the presence of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on school premises, along with appropriate training of teachers and staff. AEDs are life-saving devices in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, and their availability in schools impacts student and staff well-being in many different ways. Our task with this article is to explore the safety benefits of AEDs in schools and look at what they are, how they operate, and the legal state requirements.

Understanding AEDs and Their Importance

Whenever someone’s heart stops working, you need to find a way to restart it as soon as possible. AEDs are portable electronic devices that are designed for just such an emergency. They operate by analyzing the victim’s heart rhythm and delivering an electric shock when and if one is necessary. One of the main caveats of AEDs is that anyone can use one, as they are designed to be suitable for bystanders and require minimal training.

Since sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anybody and at any age, schools are not exempt from this risk. Studies have shown that two in 50 high schools in the United States can expect at least one SCA event in any given year. Everyone on campus is at potential risk, from the children, teachers, and staff to visiting parents.

If there isn’t an AED available in a school, setting one up can make a massive difference in survival rate and recovery. The device delivers a precisely balanced electrical shock to overload the heart’s failing electrical system. This acts as a hard reset for the heart, kicking it back into functional or sinus rhythm.

Safety in Education: The Benefits of AEDs in Schools

Having AEDs readily available in schools can significantly increase the chances of survival for a person suffering from an SCA. AEDs on school campuses have a host of potential benefits from providing AEDs all across school grounds:

    1. Rapid response and immediate treatment: The most crucial aspect of treating an SCA is responding quickly, as every minute matters. AEDs, which must be reachable within 3 minutes at most, provide the best option for rapid response and immediate treatment. With each minute that a person suffering from an SCA is left without treatment, the chances of survival go down by 7-10%, so prompt action is mandatory.

    1. Increased survival rates: Research demonstrates that prompt use of an AED results in a massive increase in the potential survival rates for individuals experiencing a major cardiac event. A 60% survival rate in emergencies on school premises is a direct result of implementing an AED program in educational institutions and having such devices available through campus grounds.

    1. Easy to use: A key advantage of AEDs is that they are very user-friendly and intuitive, so even people with minimal or no training can operate one. These devices provide clear audio and visual instructions once powered. The device is fully capable of guiding you through all the steps for delivering an electrical shock to the individual experiencing an SCA.

    1. Children-specific settings: An essential aspect of AEDs for educational facilities is that you can set the devices in a pediatric mode, fitting the needs of children in cases of cardiac emergencies. Most devices distinguish between an adult and a child by weight, with 55 lbs being the border.

    1. Compliance with state laws: Many states across the US have regulations that mandate schools to have an active AED program. So far, this legal aspect of AED regulation is not federal, so not every state has the legal framework in place. However, this should not deter schools from providing AEDs on the premises. It should encourage them to provide AEDs, knowing that they can make a difference between life and death.

Implementing AED Programs in Schools

A comprehensive school AED program helps maximize the safety benefits of AEDs in schools. Developing and implementing such a program is different for each facility, but some underlying principles and components remain the same for all:

    • AED Placement: Strategically place AEDs within the school premises to ensure easy accessibility. Per the “90-second rule,” AEDs must be retrievable within 3 minutes, leaving a bystander 90 seconds to get to the device and an additional 90 seconds to bring it back to the victim. Depending on the outline, this usually means having multiple AEDs on each floor or building.

    • Training and Education: Training the staff to use an AED in a high-stress situation, whether on children or other adults, is just as important as having the devices available on campus. AED training goes hand in hand with basic CPR protocols, and it is available in various course formats. Proper training and regular re-certification guarantee an immediate and effective response to sudden cardiac arrest.

    • Maintenance: A crucial aspect of any AED program is ensuring the devices are operational at any given time. This mandates a precise maintenance schedule, with regular inspections of the device’s batteries, pads, leads, and other components that can expire. Most AED manufacturers offer management services for maintenance and monitoring tasks.

    • An Emergency Response Plan: An SCA emergency does not end once you use the AED on the individual. So, schools need complete emergency response plans that include clear instructions on every step of the process, from retrieving the AED to transferring care to medical professionals.

    • Choosing the Right AEDs: With several different types of AEDs available, selecting the best for a particular school depends on the specific needs and requirements. As a rule of thumb, fully automated AEDs are the most user-friendly while being compact and durable. The defining aspect is the device’s ability to switch between adult and pediatric modes.


Having AEDs in strategic spots across school grounds should be past the point of discussion. Given the safety benefits of AEDs in schools and their proven track record, schools featuring such devices ensure the most critical aspect of delivering aid during a sudden cardiac arrest – a quick response with the appropriate equipment.

The increased survival rates and quicker post-event recovery times associated with using AEDs during SCAs highlight the importance of implementing AED programs in schools nationwide. Combined with a precise maintenance program and proper training of adult staff on the premises, schools can prioritize safety, demonstrating a clear capability to deal with cardiac emergencies when they arise.

For individual or group training, certification, or re-certification in AED use and CPR in Oklahoma City, contact us today to enroll in any of our available courses. Get certified now and leave nothing to chance regarding the safety of your coworkers or students!