Where is the AED?! 5 Tips for your AED Location
"Where is the AED?!” During an emergency, this question can be a crucial one. With your mind racing and adrenaline pumping, it’s important to know where key items are located and stored at all times. A better question is, does everyone know where it is right now, before the emergency? Is it visible, accessible, close to a phone and within a 1.5-minute response time radius from the location of the victim?
Even with the 1,000s of AED-related saves every year, there are still too many stories of location-related errors that could have been easily prevented. Here is a short video showing how something as simple as moving a unit without anyone’s knowledge can make an emergency turn from bad to worse.
Here are 5 tips on your AED location:
Make it Visible:
Don’t hide it. Sounds simple, right? It is. Yet, there are too many accounts of some organizations keeping them in locked offices or closets, behind other equipment, or even still in their original packaging. Have it somewhere that everyone knows like a major entrance or a high traffic area. The Americans with Disabilities Act also specifies that an unobstructed approach should be 48 inches above the floor to make sure that anyone can access it should the need arise.2
When I train, we always take a class ‘field trip’ to the client’s AED location. Later, when we’re practicing AED use, we have the students envision going to call 911 and get the AED. Put the trainer by the live unit and have them retrieve it and bring it back. Remember that some people may want to run, so suggest a brisk walk instead. You can also mention the location during your next safety briefing and show your staff the location.3
There have been some instances where people place other items in the AED cabinet to include First Aid kits, other miscellaneous emergency equipment and the manufacturer’s paperwork. Only keep the AED in the cabinet. At that moment when the AED is needed, access to it is critical. The rescuer must be able to utilize the ‘One Hand Rule.’ This is where grabbing the AED just requires one hand rather than both because of items in the way. Instead of in the cabinet, have the First Aid kit hung right beside the cabinet so the rescuer can grab both with ease should they need both items.4
Don’t Move It for Events:
Some organizations like the idea of taking the AED from its cabinet for an event like a high school football game, church dance or large gathering. I love that commitment to AED readiness, but remember, moving the AED from its location can cause confusion during a rescue and hinder the response time. It also increases the likelihood that it won’t be returned to the cabinet after the event. If an AED is needed for special events, it’s best to get another unit. Visit our online store and see all the units we currently offer!5
Make it Easy to Say:
The location needs to be in a common area that’s accessible and easy to identify. If the answer to “Where is the AED?!” is longer than a quick sentence, then it’s time to find a new location. Keep it simple like, “It’s in the break room!” or “At the main entrance!”
Make finding AEDs in your community or workplace fun!
Do you have some other tips on AED locations?