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The Importance of AED Placement and Signage

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If someone went into cardiac arrest, would a bystander know where your AED was in the building?

If you’ve made the step toward becoming more prepared for an emergency situation involving Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) then you’ve probably purchased an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for your organization. However, have you thought about placement and signage for your AED?

The location of your AED is critical to improving the chance of survival for victims who experience SCA and having clear signage so someone can find it quickly.

There are a few questions you want to address prior to placement of your AED. For instance, what is the highest risk area? Will the AED be accessible at all times? Will it need to be indoors or outside? These are just a few questions to ask yourself when finding the best place to house your AED.

Placement of an AED should be centralized and close to or located in areas that hold the highest risk of someone going into SCA. AED locations should also take into account minimizing the response time. The AHA states that for every minute a defibrillator is not used the victim’s rate of survival decreases by 10%.

An AED should always be available at any time of the day and never be locked in a drawer or hidden. This goes back to the old saying of “out of sight out of mind”. Even though it is not something that will be used every day, an AED should be recognizable and out in the open so it can be used in case of emergency. Seconds count when it comes to SCA. Signage that directs a responder to the location of an AED is something that should be planned and consistent from floor to floor or building to building if you have a large complex.

For instance, if your business is in a three story building and there is only one AED, signage should be placed on every floor to direct people easily to the AED’s location. The signs should be located preferably by an elevator and/or staircase stating which floor and/or room the AED is on. Other signs are available for locations with only one floor such as signs with directional arrows, 3 dimensional wall signs, as well as location specific signs. 

Below you will find correct & incorrect examples of AED placement and signage.

Incorrect                                                                               Correct

In the below photos the AED is hidden and pushed back in between an ATM and wall which is not easily visible. There is also no signage in the hallway or above the wall where the AED is located to help direct people to its location. All of which aid to an incorrect placement and signage for the AED.            In the below photos the AED is placed in a centralized easy to see location. There is signage that is visible that helps direct people to the location of the AED with ease. All of these reasons combined make this a correct example of AED placement and signage.


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