Do You Need an AED Defibrillator? The Law May Say Yes

400,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) outside hospitals each year. If these SCA victims aren't treated in under 10 minutes, most people die.

To prevent SCA-related deaths, some state legislature requires certain establishments to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on premise. Is your business up-to-date on AED state and federal laws?

Not sure? That's why I'm here to walk you through the national and state AED defibrillator laws that may affect your place of business.

Keep reading to find out what's legal plus my recommendation for where to buy a defibrillator machine to get your establishment up to code.

AED Defibrillator Federal Laws

The Federal Cardiac Survival Act was passed to circulate awareness of AED defibrillators and sudden cardiac arrest. But it was also to encourage Federal buildings to make AEDs available for use.

This came after studies showed that more than 700 people suffer from SCA every day. AEDs increase survival rates by 30% if used within 3-7 minutes.

Expansion of AED Laws

There are 13 elements of federally mandated public access to AEDs.

While all states have at least 1 mandatory AED program in place, not a single state enforces all 13 elements.

Schools and gyms are the most common AED location requirements by state. Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Tennessee are all authorized for funds that could be used to improve the presence of AEDs in schools.

AED Location Requirements

While all states must follow federal AED laws, state requirements vary. Here is a list of establishments and the states that require them to have a defibrillator.


Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina require K-12 schools to have an AED.

Some schools in Virginia and Wisconsin are required to have portable defibrillators. But the actual law differs depending on location.

California and Tennessee encourage schools to have an AED defibrillator on premise. However, these states do not require schools to have a defibrillator by law.

School Athletic Events

Some states that don't require them in schools do require AEDs to be available at school athletic events.

These states are:

  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington DC

Health Clubs, Sports Clubs, and Gyms

A health club is any establishment offering physical exercise or weight control regimens as a service. This does not include hotels and motels with small gyms, weight reduction centers, or organizations with training facilities for individual sports.

Nevada and North Carolina recommend AEDs but they are not required by law. AED laws in Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Oregon require a defibrillator machine on premise.

California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington DC require at least one AED in public places. However, these states encourage establishments to have more than one defibrillator machine.

Daycare Centers

AED laws in Wisconsin require a defibrillator machine on premise. However, the state laws also state that at least one member of personnel must have AED proficiency.

Dental Offices

In Illinois, dental offices must keep an AED defibrillator handy.

Wisconsin also necessitates that dental offices keep a defibrillator machine. State laws also require a trained AED specialist to be on staff.

Public Assembly Places

New York is the only state where AED in public places for assembly is required.


Public swimming pools must have an AED defibrillator by law in the state of New York.

Golf Courses

In Connecticut, all public golf courses must keep an AED on the premises. Additionally, these establishments must maintain the AED to be ready to use at any time.

More AED Requirements by State

In addition to law about which establishments are legally required to have an AED, states also outline AED training and use requirements.


55% of states in the US require AED staff at your establishment to be trained by a certified professional. Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York further mandate a complete training course before using an AED.

In 45 states, anyone who uses an AED must have completed anticipated rescuer training. If they haven't, responders in Rhode Island, Illinois, and New York may be held liable for any harm even if they act in good faith.


The majority of states require businesses to assure the AED is in working condition at all times. This includes:

As an addendum to this law, tampering with or destroying an AED is a misdemeanor offense in Florida, Iowa, and Tennessee.


Most states require businesses to register their AED with their local EMS system. In Washington DC and Maryland, however, PAD programs must be certified by the same EMS system.

Three states require businesses to notify the EMS when the AED is moved or removed. Check with your local EMS provider to find out if your state is one of them.

Federal Good Samaritan Protection

Under the federally-enforced Good Samaritan Act, anyone who uses or attempts to use an AED on an individual undergoing SCA is exempt from liability of harm. The extent to which a state abides by this law, however, varies.

Most states in the US legally mandate the trained AED person to call 911 before activating the defibrillator as a condition for immunity.

43% of states also require that any use of the AED must be reported. Colorado and Pennsylvania require this for protection from liability.

Only 50% of state jurisdictions offer immunity from liability to the owner, manager, or renter of the establishment where the AED was administered.

Make sure you know if your state is one of them before installing a defibrillator machine.

Does Your Business Need an AED Defibrillator?

So you've scoured the requirements for your state and type of establishment, and your place of business is not compliant with your state's AED laws. Now what?

You need an AED defibrillator.

Luckily, One Beat Medical has the defibrillator for you. Browse our Automatic External Defibrillator product page and find the AED that's right for your establishment.