Great question. AED placement is crucial for a number of reasons, easy accessibility being number one. AEDs are life-saving devices that need to be visible and easily accessible when an emergency strikes. Some think that the best place for an AED is in an office that is under lock-and-key to prevent theft. Unfortunately, if you go that route, you may lose precious rescue time searching for the key to the locked office during a cardiac arrest emergency. You wouldn’t put a fire extinguisher into a locked room, so why a life-saving device?
Here are some general guidelines for appropriate AED placement:
- An AED should be placed into a surface-mounted wall cabinet that is mounted onto a wall.
- The AED cabinet should not be placed any higher than 48 inches – away from little hands, yet accessible to most people.
- Place your AED into a visible, centralized location of the building.
- By making your AED visible, the public passing by daily can get accustomed to where the AED is located. In many cases people subconsciously remember the location of the AED.
- By placing your AED in a centralized location, you are making your AED equally accessible from all parts of the building. It should take you about a total of 1-2 minutes (round-trip) to the AED and back to the victim.
- Consider any locked doors, hallways, or stairwells when choosing a location.
- It may be a good idea to place your AED near another emergency equipment such as a fire extinguisher or first aid kit.
- Consider purchasing AED signage such as a 3D AED sign above the AED cabinet or you can even go as far as placing an AED sign in the window of your building to notify that your building is equipped with an AED.
- Never remove or misplace your AED from the cabinet for a non-emergency. If you are changing the pads or batteries, it is always a good idea to stick a note in the cabinet to notify the public where the AED is in the chances that the AED may be needed.
Lastly, it is a great idea to hold a short meeting to announce to all of the people in your building that there is an AED device in the building, where the AED is located, and emphasis to your employees just how easy an AED is to use by a layperson and that you do not necessarily need to be trained to use the unit in an emergency. However, it is always recommended that you hold yearly refresher courses on AED use, or better yet, schedule routine CPR classes at your location.
Hopefully you never have to use your AED, but it you do, you will be prepared to save a life.