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Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Beginning in 2018, all HUSD schools have been equipped with AEDs. Effective January 1, 2016, California enacted a new law regarding AEDs installed in public or private K-12 schools. District compliance requirements include inspection and maintenance schedules for AEDs, demonstration opportunities, and signage requirements.

Background

According to the American Red Cross website, “Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age. An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for someone with no medical background.”

Under State law, any person who, in good faith and not for compensation, renders emergency care or treatment by the use of an AED at the scene of an emergency is not liable for any civil damages resulting from any acts or omissions in rendering the emergency care (CA Civil Code §1714.21).

Glossary of Terms

AED - Automated External Defibrillator, or "Defibrillator"
A medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm. If necessary, it delivers an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

CPR - Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
An emergency procedure for providing artificial respiration and blood circulation when normal breathing and circulation have stopped.

SCA - Sudden Cardiac Arrest
When the heart stops pumping blood effectively and fails to provide blood flow and oxygen to vital organs including the brain and heart, causing the victim to collapse unconscious.

AED Myths and Facts

MYTH: Shouldn't an AED be used only by trained first responders rather than school personnel with access to an AED?
FACT: AEDs were developed for use by the public, or any untrained bystander with access to an AED, when time is of the essence. Machine technology will “talk” a user through every action needed, even in the hands of a first-time user. These machines use automated sensors to evaluate the victim and will talk a responder through the process of either administering a shock or performing CPR. According to the American Red Cross website, for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by approximately 10%. Using an AED may help save a life.

MYTH: I am worried that an AED could shock someone accidentally
FACT: An AED will only deliver a shock upon detection of certain abnormal heart rhythms; under certain circumstances, the AED will direct responders to administer CPR only. Unlike some television and film depictions, a victim's arms and legs do not flail and the back does not arch during an AED shock. An AED is not a safety threat; it can't be used to deliberately shock another person, if used not as designed.

MYTH: If someone uses an AED, they can be personally held liable in a lawsuit
FACT: As a result of SB 658, California laws have recently been updated to protect any person who, in good faith and not for compensation, renders emergency care or treatment by the use of an AED. Responders won't be liable for any civil damages as a result. Furthermore, this revised section of law does not prohibit a school employee or other person from rendering aid with an AED.