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Is Your Business Required to Have a Defibrillator (AED)?

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 05, 2014 8:04 AM

AEDs or Automated External Defibrillators are small portable devices that may be used when a customer or employee has a serious heart problem.

These small, lunch box-shaped devices can be used to save lives in emergency situations, and require a minimal amount of training to be used properly. The National Institute of Health states that rapid treatment of sudden cardiac arrest with an AED "can be lifesaving."

While these emergency devices may be available and incredibly comforting to have in private businesses, is there a legal requirement to have one in yours?

AED Legislation

Depending on your state and the nature of your business, you may be required to have an AED somewhere on your company's premises. Here are a few of the kinds of businesses that may be required to have AEDs:

You can consult with a business attorney to make sure that you're complying with local laws, but as in many states, there may be no requirement that your business purchase and maintain an AED.

No Common Law Requirement for AED

Business owners may be worried that the absence of an AED could be a liability if a patron or employee has a cardiac event while on the business' premises. However, barring state or local laws to the contrary, there is no general common law duty for businesses to obtain or make available an AED.

Unless your business is one that owes a special duty to its customers or clients (e.g., you're a medical provider, caretaker, etc.), your business also has no common law duty to rescue or perform emergency aid to customers or employees who experience heart attacks. It may sound grotesque, but your business could potentially be exposed to more liability by attempting to provide emergency aid.

So consider these general legal principles when deciding if an AED is right for your business. For more guidance, get in touch with an experienced business attorney near you.

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