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You are here: Home > AED Program Planning > Site Survey

AED Site Survey

Conducting a site survey or needs assessment should be one of the first steps in planning your AED program. This is where you answer fundamental questions that will shape your program including:

  • How many AEDs do we need?
  • Where do we place AEDs ?
  • What accessories do we need?
Who can perform a Site Survey?

Although some organizations pay an "expert" a fee for performing a "professional" site survey, there is no real qualification, certification, or professional training of individuals that perform AED program site surveys.

In many cases, you are the best person to conduct your own site survey, as you know your organization best.

Getting Started

Start by downloading our AED Program Site Survey Worksheet to start making notes.

Response Time Goal

There is no magic rule for how many AEDs need to be placed for a certain number of people. AED Program design is largely dictated by response time. The goal of an AED program is be able to deliver care to a victim rapidly. How rapidly? That may vary by organization, but the goal of many AED programs is to be able to deliver a defibrillation shock to a cardiac arrest victim within five (5) minutes of his collapse.

Expect to take a minimum of one (1) minute to recognize the emergency and react. Once the AED arrives by the victim's side, expect to take a minimum of one (1) minute to assess the victim, apply and use the AED. That leaves three minutes in between to bring the AED to vicim's side. Therefore, the goal of many AED programs is to locate AEDs so that an AED can be reached and brought to a victim's side within three (3) minutes.

Response Model

Consider how the AED (and responder) will get to the victim's side. In a Localized Response Model, the AEDs and responders are all mixed in a local area such as an office floor. It is expected that in a cardiac arrest, a person will recognize the emergency, retrieve the AED, and return to the victim within the response time goal. Most layperson AED programs rely on a Localized Response Model.

A Centralized Response Model is often used where professional responders, such as security officers, are available and are dispatched with an AED from a central location. A Hybrid Response Model combines several elements, and may be used in certain AED programs.

Locating AEDs

Assuming the goal of your AED program is to be able to reach a victim with an AED within three minutes, AEDs should be located to be reached within three minutes of most locations on your premises. Be sure to consider all grounds, parking areas, and remote buildings as well. You may want to walk at a brisk pace with a stopwatch to get an idea of travel times. An able adult can usually briskly walk about 300 feet per minute. Remember, in a Localized Response Model, you may need to allow for a round trip (to get the AED, and then return to the victim with it).

Response Barriers

When planning your AED locations and figuring response times you should consider Response Barriers, which may slow, or otherwise impede responders. Some common barriers include:

  • Stairs, escalators, & elevators
  • Locked doors & secure areas
  • Heavy machinery & hazardous areas
  • Crowds & congested areas
  • Active roadways & driveways
High-Risk Areas

Special attention should be given to cardiac arrest "high-risk areas". Although risks may vary by organization, common risk areas include:

  • Exercise, fitness & athletic areas
  • High occupancy & gathering areas
  • High-voltage & heavy machinery
  • Swimming pools, docks
  • Areas dedicated to high-risk patient populations

Whenever possible, emphasis should be placed on reducing response times to these areas.

Phone Access

Calling "911" or your emergency medical services number is an important first step in a cardiac arrest emergency. Ideally, a telephone should be located near an AED for this purpose.

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