An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a medical device that helps people in cardiac arrest by analyzing their heart rhythm, and if necessary, by delivering defibrillation (e.g., electric shock) to help their heart resume a normal rhythm. According to the American Red Cross, more than 350,000 people will suffer from cardiac arrest this year, and response times by first responders once 911 is called averages between 8-12 minutes. Every minute counts during a cardiac event where the odds of survival decrease by 10% for every minute defibrillation is delayed. Because of this, AED’s have become common in many workplaces.
The state of Colorado has the following statute pertaining to AEDs:
Colorado Revised Statute § 13-21-108.1, SB 09-010 Persons rendering emergency assistance through the use of automated external defibrillators - limited immunity
(1) The general assembly hereby declares that it is the intent of the general assembly to encourage the use of automated external defibrillators for the purpose of saving the lives of people in cardiac arrest.
(3) (a) In order to ensure public health and safety, a person or entity who acquires an AED shall ensure that:
(I) Expected AED users receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED use through a course that meets nationally recognized standards and is approved by the department of public health and environment;
(II) The defibrillator is maintained and tested according to the manufacturer’s operational guidelines and that written records are maintained of this maintenance and testing;
(IV) Written plans are in place concerning the placement of AEDs, training of personnel, pre-planned coordination with the emergency medical services system, medical oversight, AED maintenance, identification of personnel authorized to use AEDs, and reporting of AED utilization, which written plans have been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician; and
(V) Any person who renders emergency care or treatment to a person in cardiac arrest by using an AED activates the emergency medical services system as soon as possible.
(b) Any person or entity that acquires an AED shall notify an agent of the applicable emergency communications or vehicle dispatch center of the existence, location, and type of AED.
Colorado law provides civil protection for people who use an AED in an emergency:
(4) (a) Any person or entity whose primary duties do not include the provision of health care and who, in good faith and without compensation, renders emergency care or treatment by the use of an AED shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions made in good faith as a result of such care or treatment or as a result of any act or failure to act in providing or arranging further medical treatment, unless the acts or omissions were grossly negligent or willful and wanton.
What This Means for Counties
Having an AED in county facilities can save a life; however, counties must be sure that they follow Colorado statutes about AED maintenance, training, and usage. For more information on AEDs, contact CTSI at 303 861 0507.
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