A Summary of Public Access Defibrillation Laws, United States, 2010
Published Date:Mar 15 2012
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2012; 9.
On average, less than 8% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive. However, death from sudden cardiac arrest is preventable if a bystander quickly retrieves and applies an automated external defibrillator (AED). Public access defibrillation (PAD) policies have been enacted to create programs that increase the public availability of these devices. The objective of this study was to describe each state's legal requirements for recommended PAD program elements.
We reviewed state laws and described the extent to which 13 PAD program elements are mandated in each state.
No jurisdiction requires all 13 PAD program elements, 18% require at least 10 elements, and 31% require 3 or fewer elements. All jurisdictions provide some level of immunity to AED users, 60% require PAD maintenance, 59% require emergency medical service notification, 55% impose training requirements, and 41% require medical oversight. Few jurisdictions require a quality improvement process.
PAD programs in many states are at risk of failure because critical elements such as maintenance, medical oversight, emergency medical service notification, and continuous quality improvement are not required. Policy makers should consider strengthening PAD policies by enacting laws that can reduce the time from collapse to shock, such as requiring the strategic placement of AEDs in high-risk locations or mandatory PAD registries that are coordinated with local EMS and dispatch centers. Further research is needed to identify the most effective PAD policies for increasing AED use by lay persons and improving survival rates.
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