Answers to Common Children’s Health Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about pediatric health.

Should all schools have an AED on site? Why is its presence important?

Dr. Barrow discusses why schools should have an AED on site. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Should all schools have an AED onsite? Why is its presence important?

Schools should really have an AED on site because that can be a life-saving piece of equipment. And we know now that the time to electricity, that is the time from when somebody starts to have a cardiac event until we can deliver the shock, if they need a shock, is what often times determines what the outcome is going to be. So the faster we can get the electricity to the heart, that is the AED, the better off they're going to be.

So most schools have AEDs somewhere on the campus. You just want to make sure that they're in a place that they can be accessed and they're going to be by where the people are that are going to need it. For example, having it in the school clinic is not particularly helpful when you're on the football stadium. If it's in the football field, or on the football field, but it's locked in a case nobody has a key to, again, it's not going to be particularly helpful. So those are some things that you look at sometimes in your Emergency Action Plans, and think, "Okay, guys, I could get the AED, but it was locked." So what do we do to make sure that we can get it to the patient in times of need? Often times, too, the AED is really most helpful for the crowds or for the faculty and staff of the school or the officials, as opposed to the students. But nevertheless, having one can be life-saving.


An AED – automated external defibrillator – is a portable device that checks heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal heart rhythm, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). AED’s are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops beating unexpectedly and suddenly.

All schools should have AED’s on site, according to the American Heart Association(AHA) and Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians.

However, it is not only important to have an AED accessible somewhere on school grounds, but specifically in the most needed places on school grounds, PPN physicians say. Though the school building is a good place to have an AED, if in a locked school building the device may not be able to help if needed in an emergency involving an athlete during a sporting event or practice, according to PPN physicians.

The AHA states that an AED should be placed where it can be used within 3 minutes of someone having a cardiac emergency. Deciding where on school grounds the devices should be located is an important consideration for schools when creating their emergency action plans.

Learn more:

Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Christopher Aviles, MD, Beavercreek Family Physicians; Tracie Bolden, MD, Fairfield Road Physician Offices; Michael Chunn, MD, Michael A. Chunn, MD Family Practice; Christopher Lauricella D.O, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Melinda Ruff, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Paul Weber, MD, The Pediatric Group; Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Michael Barrow, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Aleda Johnson, MD, Liberty Family Medicine; Lisa Wright, MSN, NP-C, Ann DeClue, MD; Mark Casdorph, DO, Upper Valley Outpatient Behavioral Health

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