This policy was created for worksites to establish a process to support the proper management of the AED and training for employee(s). This document includes model policy guidelines, which means that an organization can include some or all the components. 

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly and can happen to anyone at any time. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, in which about 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur annually in the worksite.1,2 

The AHA strongly encourages worksites to provide AED(s) as well as implement a plan and proper training to increase the chances of survival for people who have heart-related emergencies. The goal of every AED program is to deliver defibrillation to a cardiac arrest victim within three to five minutes after collapse.3 In time sensitive emergencies such as a sudden cardiac arrest, every second that passes without immediate intervention such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and/or the placement of an AED can mean the difference between life and death. All Americans should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it.4 In South Dakota, ambulance response can range from a few seconds to well over 30 minutes in the most remote parts of the state, which often prevents even the best emergency service systems from arriving in time to help cardiac arrest individuals.5 

For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by approximately 10%.4 By implementing an AED policy within the worksite, the likelihood of survival related to a sudden cardiac arrest is increased for both employees and customers. Even without any medical background, an AED is easy to operate and is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest.4 

Policy Guidelines

The first step to creating a worksite prepared to respond to a cardiac event is to utilize this model policy in its entirety or adapt this model policy to support a worksite AED program. 

  1. [Worksite] is committed to promoting this policy and providing its employees with evidence-based education to ensure the best possible outcome for any cardiac related event happening within the worksite.
  2. [Worksite] will designate a primary and secondary employee for ensuring batteries, pads, and other items are functioning and up to date. These employees are also responsible for ensuring batteries, pads, and other items are replaced as needed after any use.
  3. At [Worksite], the AED may be used, in cases of a cardiac emergency, by any willing party, regardless of training. AEDs provide auditory step-by-step instructions to the user on how to proceed with hooking up pads, applying pads to the individual in need and administering a shock, if necessary. SD CodifiedLaw 20-9-4.1 (also called the Good Samaritan Law) protects individuals from liability related to AED use.
  4. [Worksite] will provide staff with yearly training on AED location, AED use and the current worksite policy. Additionally, this training will be provided to new employees as part of orientation to their position and worksite.
  5. [Worksite] will designate an employee responsible for review of any worksite incident report related to a cardiovascular event. This can be the same employee responsible for reviewing other worksite incidents such as injuries, etc.
  6. [Worksite] will develop and utilize an incident report protocol documenting any use of an AED and submit the report to the designated employee. The first individual arriving at the scene of the cardiovascular event will be responsible for completing the incident report.
  7. [Worksite] encourages employees to receive comprehensive CPR and AED training through a professionally recognized organization such as the AmericanHeart Association or American Red Cross.
  8. [Worksite] will store AED in a designated place that is dry, clearly marked, accessible, located in a high traffic area and easily visible to a passerby.
  9. [Worksite] will designate an employee responsible for reviewing and updatingAED worksite policy. Designated party should review AED worksite policy yearly and update as needed. The policy should state when it was last reviewed/updated and by whom.
  10. [Worksite} will comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements which include: height to reach the handle of an AED in a public gathering place should be no more than 48 inches high; maximum reach range for health equipment such as automated external defibrillators and other life safety devices is 48 inches above the floor; maximum side reach for an unobstructed approach to an AED is 54 inches; and AEDs contained in wall cabinets shall not protrude more than 4 inches from the wall into walks, corridors, passageways, or aisles. 


The following information is to aid the worksite in implementation of the AED Model Policy.

  • The AHA does not recommend one AED over another, and the selection of the device must be determined and influenced by the needs of the specific worksite.
  • It is important to visually inspect AEDs weekly or monthly to ensure they are working correctly.
  • Contact the manufacturer periodically to get the latest information about software updates or upgrades.
  • Generally, AEDs should be simple and easy to operate. The ideal AED should serve as a coach through the defibrillation process, creating the calmest, clearest environment possible to allow the responder to focus.
  • As important as the type of AED you choose is the placement of the device. A three-minute response time should be used to help you determine how manyAEDs you need and where to place them. Though it is impossible to predict where a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) will occur, the most strategic way to placeAEDs is to identify locations where the incidence might be higher, such as high-traffic areas, including cafeterias or other meeting spaces. Additional possible locations for a facility’s placement of an AED could include security guard stations, next to the first aid cabinets, main reception areas, and near elevators.The AED should be in an unobstructed area. Avoid storing AEDS in closets, file cabinets or on the floor.
  • There are specific wall mount cabinets made to store AEDs.
  • Ask employees to volunteer to be responsible for checking the AED on a regular basis. Someone certified in CPR and AED is a good option. It is best to have more than one person responsible in the event of staffing changes. Having more than one person checking the AED also avoids errors due to familiar repetition.
  • Employee training: This training should include a reminder that the first person on the scene should call 911 before administering CPR or using the AED.


Enforcement of this policy should consider the following: 

SD Codified Law 20-9-4.1 protects individuals from liability related to AED use. 

a. 20-9-4.1. Immunity from liability for emergency care–Exception. No peace officer, conservation officer, member of any fire department, police department and their first aid, rescue or emergency squad, or any citizen acting as such as a volunteer, or any other person is liable for any civil damages as a result of their acts of commission or omission arising out of and in the course of their rendering in good faith, any emergency care and services during an emergency which is in their judgment indicated and necessary at the time. Such relief from liability for civil damages extends to the operation of any motor vehicle in connection with any such care or services.

Nothing in this section grants any relief to any person causing any damage by his willful, wanton or reckless act of commission or omission.
Source: SL 1968, ch 193; SL 1970, ch 140; SL 1986, ch 4, § 9; SL 2013, ch 103, § 1.

Additionally, this worksite policy may encompass more than one physical building if the worksite is comprised of multiple structures. The worksite should denote this in policy accordingly. 

Quality Measures

To ensure the quality of the AED, the worksite should designate a primary and secondary employee for checking that batteries, pads, and other items are functioning and up to date. This should be assessed at least monthly. These employees are also responsible for ensuring batteries, pads, and other items are replaced as needed after any use of the AED. 

Final Statement

By implementing this model policy in its entirety or choosing to tailor this policy to your worksite’s needs, you are taking an important step to prepare worksite employees to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest. 

Definition of Terms

Automated External Defibrillator (AED—a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)—occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death. 

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)—as an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. 


Contact Regarding Policy

Contact [Employee Representative] with questions or concerns about the policy. 

Effective Date

The policy is effective (date).

Policy Monitoring and Review

[Worksite] will evaluate and revise this policy on an annual basis. 

Review Date

The policy will be reviewed [date].