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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Is There a Liability Factor in Owning an Automated External Defibrillator?

Good Samaritan and AED laws protect responders, organizations and the victim

Is there a liability factor owning an automated external defibrillator?

This question tends to be the No. 1 factor in determining whether a corporate, school, church or any other organization purchases an AED for their facility.

All 50 states have created Good Samaritan and AED laws to protect responders, organizations and the victim. Understanding these laws is key to implementing a successful AED program.

There are several factors supporting why liability should no longer be the No. 1 deterrent when considering implementing an AED program. With the passing of the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000, signed by President Bill Clinton, immunity measures from liability for the entity and/or person utilizing an AED in good faith have been enacted on a federal level.

The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act now requires the Health and Human Services Department secretary to establish guidelines for placing AEDs in federal buildings. These guidelines must include the proper placement of the AEDs and the appropriate procedures are followed:

» Implement the appropriate training program of the AED device and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

» Ensure the proper testing and ongoing maintenance of the AED.

» Ensure the proper licensed medical direction and oversight of the program.

» Ensure that local EMS (emergency medical services) have been notified of the devices and incidents and uses of the devices.

When these guidelines were published, they led to community-based defibrillation programs and to more unified state AED laws, regulations and training requirements, otherwise known as Good Samaritan laws.

“The perceptions and fear of legal liability continue to serve as barriers to large-scale adoption of public access defibrillation (PAD) programs in out-of-hospital settings,” said Richard Lazar, a legal expert on emergency medical services topics and an adviser to the National Center for Early Defibrillation.

With the help of the medical community’s experience of implementing multiple PAD programs across the United States and the advancement in technology, AEDs have become more accessible and easier to purchase without the fear of liability. The trend and fear of not having an AED available at larger, more populated facilities, such as malls, hotels, restaurants or community event venues, is starting to actually turn the other direction.

Click here to contact Safety Matters Certified Training to find out more about implementing your AED program utilizing the direction of the California Good Samaritan law and CASA guidelines. Our goal is to help educate the public about sudden cardiac arrest and how AEDs can help decrease the number of deaths with the proper AED program and training.

Already have an AED but don’t have a management program? Safety Matters Certified Training can help. Click here for more information, or call 805.308.2252.

— Justin Haagen is a certified instructor and owner of Safety Matters Certified Training.

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