The purpose of the Automated External Defibrillator Program is to ensure that all AEDs installed on campus comply with appropriate guidelines in purchasing, placement, maintenance, training, and departmental supervision. This program applies to individuals trained on the proper use of an AED, departments with AED units currently in service, and departments in consideration or in the process of purchasing an AED unit.
According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. SCA can happen to anyone, at anytime or anywhere, so it’s important to implement an AED program that provides the necessary resources to help save a life. SCA is an immediate, without warning, electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat rhythm (arrhythmia). SCA abruptly stops the heart’s pumping action and prevents blood flow throughout the body. SCA usually causes death if not treated within minutes. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable electronic devices designed to diagnose a cardiac rhythm and automatically treat through defibrillation. Defibrillation is the application of electric shocks that allows the heart to reestablish a normal rhythm. AEDs make it possible for lay responders to administer defibrillation prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
The success of the AED Program depends on the effective collaboration of team members from across campus. Specific responsibilities of members are outlined as follows:
AED Program Administrator (Safety and Risk Management Office)
AED Medical Program Advisor (Health Services)
Departmental AED Program Coordinator (AED Owner):
University departments and other administrative units who acquire an AED are responsible
for maintaining the device to the standards of its manufacturer, federal and state
laws, the programmatic standards of the American Heart Association or the American
Red Cross, and WCU AED Program.
AED Owner responsibilities:
Installation Administrator (Facilities Management)
A department or administrative unit interested in obtaining an AED for their building should submit an AED Request Form to the AED Program Administrator. The AED Program Administrator will coordinate with the requester to provide an overview of the WCU AED Program guidelines, review potential building locations, review maintenance and inspection requirements, and training requirements of departmental faculty and staff who volunteer to receive training. AED units are purchased through the North Carolina E-Procurement per state contract by the AED owner. Requesting departments or administrative units are financially responsible for the AED equipment purchase, alarmed AED storage cabinet, signage, installation, maintenance, training, and all other known or unforeseen costs associated with the AED. Departments or administrative units who have purchased and installed an AED for service prior to the implementation of the WCU AED Program should follow all guidelines required in this program.
In addition to the AED, other equipment and ancillary supplies are required for the installation and use of the AED. This includes but is not limited to:
Exception: In special circumstances, certain departments or campus units may require an AED for portability and are exempt from AED cabinet requirements.
The department or administrative unit purchasing the AED will coordinate with the AED Program Administrator to identify the most appropriate location in the requested building for proper placement. The following guidelines should be considered:
All AEDs must be stored in a wall mounted storage cabinet per the manufacturer guidelines. Each cabinet should have a local alarm (not connected to 911 or Emergency Services) which sounds when the cabinet door is opened. Emergency ancillary supplies for each AED should be included within the cabinet for use.
Anyone may, at their discretion, provide voluntary assistance to victims of medical emergencies to the extent appropriate to their training and experience. Untrained bystanders are protected from civil liability when using an AED in good faith unless the person was grossly negligent or intentionally engaged in wrongdoing when rendering the treatment (North Carolina General Statute Section 90-21.14). However, we encourage all persons to have proper prior training. University employees should be aware that they are not required to use an AED. Except for trained medical professionals, all university employees are considered volunteers when rendering assistance to any individual suffering a medical emergency.
Accordingly, North Carolina law also expressly provides immunity from civil liability for those who obtain and maintain AEDs, and those who use such devices to attempt to save a life. North Carolina Statue Section 90-21.15 (d) provides for two classes of persons or entities who are exempt from civil liability related to the procurement and maintenance of AEDs:
It is the responsibility of AED owners to provide or arrange for training and refresher training in CPR/AED use for their employees. CPR and AED training is voluntary unless it is part of a written job description. All training records must be maintained onsite, including a description of the training program. Western Carolina University recommends that all employees identified for AED training successfully complete an American Heart Association or American Red Cross CPR/AED course or a national acceptable equivalent certification which is valid for two (2) years.
The AED Area Coordinator is responsible for the routine inspection and maintenance of each AED according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The AED Area Coordinator is responsible for replacing the battery pack and electrode pads prior to their expiration dates. All AEDs and ancillary supplies shall be maintained in a constant state of readiness.
In general, AEDs do not require routine maintenance. AEDs perform an automatic self-test once a week and every time the unit is turned on. Should the automatic self-test detect a condition that requires attention, the status indicator will change showing a fault and an alarm will sound giving notification.
The AED Area Coordinator is responsible for conducting AED Monthly Inspection checks of each AED unit under their management. These inspections should consist of the following:
The AED Area Coordinator should immediately contact the AED Program Administrator if an AED is damaged, missing, or the status indicator light is not green or displays an abnormal condition. Should the AED unit be removed from service for any amount of time an AED Temporarily Out Of Service notice must be attached over the AED storage cabinet until the AED unit is placed back to normal operating service.
After an AED is used for a medical emergency, all equipment shall be cleaned, decontaminated, serviced, and replenished as required and placed back into service as soon as possible after completing the following tasks:
The AED Program Administrator will conduct an annual inspection of each AED on campus for missing or damaged units, examination of all batteries, pads, cables, departmental site documentation, and to confirm no issues have been detected by the AED’s self-diagnostic check.
The maintenance and inspection records required by this program shall be maintained for a period of three years. Records that reflect the current status of employee training should be maintained until the next training cycle is completed. All other records, including those associated with AED use or post event debriefings, should be maintained indefinitely. The following records must be maintained by the AED Owner:
Cleaning procedures should be followed by the AED manufacture instructions. The following procedures are to be used as general guidelines:
Trained personnel should follow their training in a cardiac emergency. Ensure the EMS system is activated by calling 911 or Emergency Services (828-227-8911) to provide additional medical assistance. Building Emergency Plan (BEP) medical response procedures should be initiated. It is important to note that the AED may be used by any person, trained or untrained in its use, who in good faith renders emergency care to the victim.
The following information should be given to the emergency dispatcher:
Designate a witness or nearby individual familiar with the building or location to meet with the responding EMS unit in order to facilitate the most direct route to the patient.
Departments or administrative units must notify the AED Area Coordinator immediately following an incident. The AED Area Coordinator will conduct an incident debriefing and complete an AED Incident Report. A copy of the AED Incident Report must be sent to the Safety and Risk Management Office within 24 hours.
A review of each medical event using an AED shall be conducted by the AED Medical
Program Advisor. All key participants in the medical event shall participate in a
review that includes:
A summary of the post-incident review shall be sent to the AED Program Administrator for record retention purposes