How to Start an AED Defibrillator Program

How to Start an AED Defibrillator Program

Guidelines for Developing Effective AED Program

Policies and procedures should be set in place to govern an early defibrillation program and to explain the importance of a cardiac arrest assessment. We recommend that you offer your early defibrillation response team members the general guidance below.


The policies and procedures relate to an early defibrillation program utilizing employees who serve as trained responders in CPR and defibrillation therapy in the event of a medical emergency.


The purpose of policies and procedures is to establish a consistent guideline for application, location, maintenance, and various other components described herein involving the early defibrillation program. It is the goal to provide the appropriate defibrillator coverage with a response time of three (3) minutes from time of incident to first shock to increase the likelihood of survival in the event of SCA. This workbook is intended to serve as a guide and checklist for the basic elements of implementing an early defibrillation program.


Cardiac Arrest Assessment – The time from collapse to an assessment of the medical situation can take at least one minute. The chances of a victim surviving a sudden cardiac arrest decrease seven to ten percent for each minute that passes without treatment.

Early Defibrillation Response Team Member – An individual who is trained in AED use to respond to SCA medical emergencies and may also be a member of the Emergency Response Team.

Automated external defibrillator (AED or defibrillator) – An automated computerized medical device programmed to analyze heart rhythm, recognize rhythms that require defibrillation, and provide visual and voice instructions for the device operator, including, if indicated, to push the button to deliver an electric shock.

Bystander first aid/CPR – Initial first aid/CPR provided by a trained individual who is not part of an organized medical response system such as ERT or EMS.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – Rescue breathing and external cardiac compression applied to a victim in respiratory and/or sudden cardiac arrest.

Emergency Medical System (EMS) – Professional community responder agency for emergency events, who provide medical assistance and/or ambulance transport.

Emergency Response Team (ERT), or Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) – A group of medical responders who train on a regular basis to respond to medical emergencies.

Rescue breathing – Artificial ventilation of a victim in respiratory and/or sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – A significant life-threatening event when a person’s heart stops or fails to produce a pulse.

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