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Bureau of Emergency Medical Services
Automated External Defibrillators (AED)
Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does AED stand for?
    AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator.
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  • Where can I learn about AED’s?
    The American Heart Association (AHA) provides a summary of questions and answers. AED’s are primarily used on Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) adult patients. Many cardiac arrest conditions can be reversed with the immediate delivery of a defibrillation shock from an AED quickly accessed by the public. Follow-up care provided by responding Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies and ambulance transport of the patient to a hospital are important components in the "Chain of Survival".
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  • What is an AED?
    A battery-operated device used to administer an electrical shock though the chest wall to the heart. The device, through adhesive chest pad(s), can monitor the heart rhythm and indicate if an electrical shock from the AED is needed. Defibrillation is needed when the heart is not beating in a synchronized rhythm.
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  • Who can use an AED?
    In New Hampshire, AED legislation(RSA 153-A:30 and RSA 153-A:31) allows anyone to utilize an AED in a cardiac arrest emergency. AED users are encouraged to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in the event the AED indicates CPR needs to be initiated or continued.
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  • Is an AED safe to use?
    Yes. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves various models of AED devices. AED’s are designed for easy use during cardiac arrest emergencies. Voice and/or visual prompts provide instructions in the use of the device. CPR/AED training is encouraged to provide familiarization with the proper application of AED’s.

    An AED will not allow an electrical shock to be delivered if the device does not detect the proper cardiac arrest condition.

    AED’s can be used on anyone over one year old. The AHA recommends the use of pediatric attenuated pads for a child aged 1-8 years. If pediatric AED pads are not available for a child cardiac arrest patient, the AHA recommends use of the AED adult defibrillation pads.

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  • Are there any liability protections for AED use?
    Yes. New Hampshire AED legislation (RSA 153-A:31) specifically provides legal protection to both organizations providing AED devices and any individuals utilizing an AED to assist an SCA patient.

    The New Hampshire Legislature has passed AED laws (RSA 153-A:28) to encourage the statewide availability and use of AED’s for the public statewide.

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  • Can anyone buy an AED?
    Yes. FDA-approved AED’s can be purchased by interested individual or organizations.

    The American Heart Association provides a contact list of AED vendors.

    Currently an AED reduced-price contract is provided by the State of New Hampshire for any individuals or organizations located in the state. For contract pricing information, contact Bill Wood, NH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services at (603)-223-4228. Most AED purchases must include written authorization from a physician.

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  • How much does an AED cost?
    The typical price range for AED’s is from $1,200–$2,500. The current State of NH pricing is from $ 735.00. An AED package usually includes the AED, battery, defibrillation pad(s) and carrying case.
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  • What AED maintenance is involved?
    AED’s are designed to be compact, portable and require minimal maintenance. The devices are battery powered and have an easily observed status check. Each AED manufacturer provides guidance on battery and defibrillation pad(s) maintenance.
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  • What are the costs of CPR/AED training?
    The Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) recommends a minimum of 1-person adult CPR/AED training (approximately 4 hours) for public AED use.

    Depending on your community resources and the level of training desired, programs may be free or have a per person cost. Training resources may be available through local EMS agencies, hospital Education Departments, the American Heart Association or American Red Cross Chapters. Local industrial safety organizations may also provide appropriate training.

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  • How many AED’s should be located in a building?
    The AHA recommends an AED be within 3 (three) minutes of a cardiac arrest patient and can provide reference material.
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  • Where should AED’s be located?
    AED’s should be easily accessible to employees and the public in high visibility, high pedestrian traffic areas. AED’s mounted at fixed locations should be within reach of children and wheelchair-bound individuals. Building "AED on Site" signage should clearly mark AED locations.

    AED placement is encouraged in public buildings, businesses, at social and athletic events and anywhere adults, in particular, congregate.

    Schools are excellent locations due to their multiple uses in the community. The Department of Education provides information on AED’s for schools.

    AED’s at fixed-locations should remain in place at all times. Additional AED’s needed for outdoor events, field trips, etc. should be obtained.

    New Hampshire state law (RSA 153-A:33) states that AED’s need to be registered with the Bureau of EMS. The AED Registry utilizes a one-page form to provide AED location information. Fixed location AED information is also entered into the statewide Enhanced 9-1-1 database.

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  • Are there possible insurance discounts for AED availability and training?
    Contact your individual or organization’s insurance carrier for possible reimbursements or incentives.
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