Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are incredible medical devices that make it possible for almost anyone to save a life when a person experiences a heart attack outside of the hospital. In Florida, there are specific laws related to AEDs and where they must be located.
What Locations Must Have AEDs in Florida?
State law can only do so much about mandating the placement of automated external defibrillators. Though businesses are strongly encouraged to obtain an AED and have employees who are certified to use the device, there is no legal requirement for businesses to have these devices on hand.
According to Florida law, every public school that is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association must have an operational AED on school grounds. Any school employee or volunteer reasonably expected to use the AED must be dual CPR/AED certified. AEDs located within Florida public high schools must be registered with the local EMS provider (any person or business in possession of a working AED is encouraged to notify their local EMS medical director or public safety office and let them know the location of the AED.
State law requires AEDs to be present at specific types of assisted living facilities. This includes licensed assisted living facilities that have 17 or more beds. Additionally, every dentist’s office in Florida must have an AED present. Under Florida Administrative Code – 64B5-17.015, a dentist could be considered to be practicing below the minimum standard of care if they fail to have an AED on their premises.
AED Survival Rates for Out-of-Hospital Heart Attacks
Individuals who sustain cardiac events, including cardiac arrest, outside of the hospital typically do not survive. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests take the lives of approximately 350,000 people in the US each year, highlighting the importance of having an AED in all publicly accessible locations.
When the person who experiences an out-of-hospital cardiac event receives prompt CPR and AED treatment, their chances of survival increase. Information provided by the American Heart Association states that CPR can double or triple the chance of a victim’s survival outside of the hospital after experiencing A cardiac arrest, and the presence of an AED increases the odds even more.
Under FL Stat § 768.1325, Florida does provide Good Samaritan protection for the use of an AED by bystanders, including medical providers, outside of the hospital or medical facility setting. Individuals who use an AED in good faith will typically not be held liable for any harm they may cause by the use of the AED.
Could a Wrongful Death Claim Arise Due to No AED Present?
General, the absence of an AED would not necessarily lead to a wrongful death claim. However, if a person loses their life after experiencing a cardiac event in an area where an AED was legally required to be present but was not, it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim against the property owner or operator.
Wrongful death claims are incredibly challenging, and we encourage you to reach out to an attorney who has experience handling these particular cases. A wrongful death lawyer can thoroughly examine every facet of your case and help determine the best steps moving forward for your particular situation.