Live in an apartment? Do they have an AED?

April 16, 2014 Cheryl Smith AED, Awareness and Prevention, CPR Training, Preparation and Disaster Planning

In recent years, an increasing number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have been provided in office complexes, shopping malls, gyms and even on commercial airliners. Why, then, are there so few of them in apartment complexes?

The reluctance to install them usually comes down to concerns about potential liability.  However, such concerns are unwarranted. Modern defibrillators — small electronic devices that administer an electric shock to restore heart rhythm are basically foolproof.  With the new models now on the market, the operator has only to attach two pads to the victim’s chest and turn on the machine; follow the simple instructions.

The machine will analyze the heart rhythm and tell you whether or not to administer a shock.  As far as we know, these machines have never shocked someone who didn’t need it and never failed to shock someone who did.

While having defibrillators in commercial buildings is certainly helpful, having them in residential buildings is much more important.  Eighty-eight percent of cardiac arrests happen at home and in 93 cases out of 100, the victim does not survive.


With cardiac arrest, every second counts. If defibrillation occurs in the first one or two minutes, 90% of sudden cardiac arrest victims in VF survive.  If defibrillation is delayed for more than ten minutes the survival rate drops to 5% for sudden cardiac arrest victims in VF.

Apartment complex employees and others who would use the machine can receive training from the American Heart Association; it takes a few hours. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, aid for choking victims and hands-on practice with the defibrillator are included.

Tennessee’s Good Samaritan Law protects from liability anyone who “voluntarily and without expectation of monetary compensation” uses a defibrillator in an attempt to revive someone in an emergency. “In my opinion, it would be negligent not to have one.”

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