Safety Policies

SY22 Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Stacy Givens, 863-3756,

Policy Steward: 

Assistant Vice-President for Police and Public Safety / Director of Environmental Health and Safety



This policy provides procedures for the selection, placement, purchase and maintenance of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in all University facilities and vehicles.

The use of an AED is one step in the process of improving survival rates for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Red Cross, each year in the United States over 250,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest before reaching a hospital. A person’s chance of survival can be increased by establishing a Chain of Survival system that includes early recognition (calling 911), early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), early defibrillation, and access to advanced cardiac life support by emergency medical services (EMS) and medical facilities.


42 Pa.C.S. § 8331.2 specifies Good Samaritan civil immunity for use of automated external defibrillators and 42 Pa.C.S. § 8332 specifies nonmedical Good Samaritan civil immunity.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates AED units as medical devices. A prescription is required to be written by a physician for purchase of an AED. Devices with FDA approval can be accessed at this website.

Federal Public Health Improvement Act, Public Law 106-505 (November 13, 2000). Subtitle A of Title IV of the Act, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000, amends the Public Health Service Act to provide for placement of AEDs in Federal buildings to improve survival rates of cardiac arrest victims, and to establish protection from civil liability from the use of the devices. American Heart Association AED Implementation Guide #70-2272 9/04.


Automated External Defibrillator: A device that is designed to analyze a heart rhythm and advise trained or "lay" personnel when to push a button on the unit to deliver a potentially lifesaving shock (defibrillation) to the victim of a sudden cardiac arrest.

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation): an emergency medical procedure using artificial blood circulation and respiration to maintain the flow of oxygenated blood through the body, thereby delaying tissue death and increasing the opportunity for successful resuscitation without brain damage.


The purchase, placement, use and maintenance of AEDs at Penn State shall conform to the requirements established in this policy. No work unit is permitted to purchase or install an AED without approval by the process established herein.

The content of this policy is applicable to all Penn State locations except the Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine and applies to work units with AED units already in place and work units considering purchasing them.


Medical Advisor for the University AED Program – Designated Advisor for the AED program, working with Emergency Medical Services in University Health Services. The primary responsibility of this individual is to provide oversight for the medical components of this policy.

  1. Provide medical leadership and expertise to the AED Program.
  2. Provide the required prescriptions for AEDs installed at all University locations.
  3. Monitor outcomes of AED use.
  4. Provide guidance in the selection of appropriate AED units

Emergency Medical Services

  1. Maintain records of AED use and provide to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) on a regular basis.
  2. Provide guidance in the selection of appropriate AED units in conjunction with Environmental Health and Safety.
  3. Review submittals of “Work Unit Plan to Use an AED.”
  4. Provide assistance to administrative units during the planning and implementation process.

Environmental Health and Safety

  1. Assist University work units in the implementation of this program.
  2. Develop, maintain and update the AED policy for the University, including the AED locations and contacts.
  3. Chair AED Advisory Committee and development of the AED Program.
  4. In conjunction with the AED Advisory Committee, establish criteria for the required placement of AEDs.
  5. Maintain records of AED Plans and AEDs at Penn State.
  6. Establish a process to ensure centralized delivery, receiving and shipping of all Penn State-owned AEDs in conjunction with Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  7. Review submittals of “Work Unit Plan to Use an AED.”
  8. Establish guidelines and procedures for periodic testing of emergency procedures.
  9. Provide assistance to administrative units during the planning and implementation process.
  10. Provide “AED Plan Approval Letter(s)” to work units for the purchase, installation and use of AEDs.
  11. Maintain updates by the American Heart Association and others to benefit from advances in Public Access Defibrillator programs.
  12. Provide University Police and other appropriate public safety agencies with updated listings of AEDs on a regular basis.

Office of Human Resources

  1. Maintain records of University employees trained in CPR/AEDs and provide this information to the AED Coordinator.

Department, Unit or Campus

  1. The Administrative unit head is responsible to ensure that all components of this policy are implemented when an AED(s) is/are purchased, placed or used within areas of their jurisdiction. Additional responsibilities include:
    • Assign resources to support the AED Program. This includes both personnel and the installation and or maintenance costs within their areas of jurisdiction as established by this policy.
    • Designate and empower an AED Work Unit Coordinator who is responsible for program coordination and AED plan oversight within the work unit. The Coordinator may appoint additional building or unit coordinators to assist in local implementation.
    • Plan events in accordance with ADG04 to ensure Emergency Medical Services needs are addressed for special events under their area of jurisdiction at on-campus or off-campus locations.
    • Support and encourage employee participation.


AED Work Unit Coordinator

  1. Maintain records for units under their jurisdiction:
    • AED approval letters for the initial installation and subsequent revisions.
    • “Work Unit Plan to Use an AED” and subsequent revisions.
    • Employee training records.
    • Participation records for drills.
    • Other records such as purchasing documentation, etc.
  2. For University Park locations, the Coordinator must verify that the Office of Physical Plant is conducting inspections of AEDs under their jurisdiction and the inspection reports are being properly maintained by the Office of Physical Plant.
  3. Ensure the preparation and submittal of a “Work Unit Plan to Use an AED” for any new AEDs and when any substantial changes are made to existing AED plans already approved. AEDs cannot be purchased, installed, or used before the AED plan is approved by EHS and provided to the AED Coordinator.  Changes that require an updated Plan would include, but are not limited to:
    • Removal of an AED from service.
    • Change in name/contact information of AED Coordinator.
    • Change in model/manufacturer information.
    • Change in placement location.
    • Change in physician providing medical oversight.
    • Change in meeting minimum training qualifications.
  4. Submit "Work Unit Plan to Use an AED" to EHS within sixty days after the effective date of this policy. This includes work units currently approved to have an AED.
  5. Conduct annual audits of the “Work Unit Plan to Use an AED” to ensure compliance with the plan as approved by EHS.
  6. Ensure that front, outside of case of the AEDs under their jurisdiction are posted with the “AED Coordinator Location Sticker” that is updated appropriately. These stickers are provided by EHS.
  7. Submit required information annually as required by EHS.
  8. Ensure that individual First Responders’ CPR/AED certifications are current, and all trained persons meet any additional training requirements established by this policy for individuals under their jurisdiction.
  9. Report program issues to administrative unit head, EMS or EHS, depending upon the nature of the problem.
  10. Ensure that signage specifying AED locations in areas under their jurisdiction are maintained as established by this policy.
  11. Ensure completion of the “AED Post Incident Usage Report”  for all AED usage under areas of jurisdiction and submit the reports to Emergency Medical Services.


The appropriate procedures for a work unit to place an AED unit in a building, department or vehicle are:

  1. Determine whether the placement meets the criteria listed below or not.
  2. Designate a Work Unit AED Coordinator to administer and maintain the program.
  3. With the assistance of the Emergency Medical Services and EHS, select an AED unit, an appropriate location and complete a “Work Unit Plan to Use an AED”.


Placement criteria for AEDs at Penn State is established by the AED Advisory Committee using the information listed below. Administrative work units are required to obtain an AED in accordance with this policy. In general, funding for AEDs including installation and signage by auxiliary operations will be the responsibility of the work unit, even if they meet the placement criteria. For non-auxiliary work units, AEDs will be centrally funded through EHS if they meet the placement criteria.

A designated location in OPP will be established where all AED deliveries will be received and where all shipments from University units will be coordinated.

For those work units which do not meet the established placement criteria, but choose to purchase an AED, the responsibility for meeting all other components of this policy will be the work unit’s. Work units are encouraged to contact EHS to obtain more specific information on AEDs as applicable to their operations.

The selection of manufacturer and model of AED will be based on standardization of units by campus location whenever possible. Emergency Medical Services, in consultation with EHS will specify an appropriate model for consistency, and the work unit will be responsible to purchase or have purchased that model. EMS, in consultation with EHS, will consider alternatives when appropriate.

University Park Criteria for AED Placement

Facilities/activities determined to be of the highest risk for requiring an AED:

  • Facilities/Activities which meet at least one of the following:
    1. Use at fitness facilities, including swimming pools.
    2. Use by high risk populations or personnel working at high risk activities such as energized electrical circuits, elevated heat exposure or in health care. Further examples are activities involving high risk team sports (e.g.,  Division III sports – softball, baseball, lacrosse; Division I sports).
    3. Are a high risk site (e.g., older populations) such as airports, hotels and large gathering locations.
  • Facilities/Activities that meet all of the following:
    1. Difficult to navigate based on size, configuration or restrictions that inhibit immediate access.
    2. Use by large numbers of people, but not necessarily at risk populations.
    3. Location is more than a 3 minute response time for an AED to arrive from Police or EMS.

Facilities/Activities determined to be of moderate risk for requiring an AED:

  • Facilities that meet two of the following:
    1. Difficult to navigate based on size, configuration or restrictions that inhibit for immediate access.
    2. Use by large numbers of people, but not necessarily at risk.
    3. Location is more than a 3 minute response time for an AED to arrive from Police or EMS.

Non-University Park Criteria for AED Placement:

Special consideration at campuses is needed to account for variations in size, layout and types of activities. Each non-University Park location has at least one AED and many campuses have more than one unit that meets the criteria established. The general criteria for placement are that an AED should be located at the nurse/health center, police operations, or at (a) central location(s). Fitness facilities must also have an AED if one is not already located nearby.


Prior to the purchase and/or placement of an AED, or as otherwise specified by this policy, the administrative unit AED Coordinator must submit a "Work Unit Plan to Use an AED" to EHS, found by accessing this webpage-


Continuous equipment maintenance is an important element in ensuring a successful program. Equipment is maintained through the following processes:

  1. At University Park locations, the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) will be responsible to conduct initial installation and monthly maintenance of all AEDs in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements. For those AEDs not meeting the placement criteria described herein or for auxiliary operations, the work units may be responsible for funding maintenance costs through the OPP maintenance plan. For AEDs installed that meet the placement criteria, this will be centrally funded.
  2. For Non-University Park locations, maintenance and inspections will be managed by the AED Coordinator.  The AED Coordinator can designate one or more individuals to install the AED(s) and to conduct maintenance and/or inspections.  The “AED Monthly Inspection Form,” must be used.  All records of inspections shall be maintained by the AED coordinator. Installations will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of this policy.


Individuals approved to use AEDs shall be trained in CPR and AED usage.  The training shall be based on the American Heart Association or American Red Cross and shall be taught by an authorized instructor. Courses at a minimum must include adult CPR and AED and the “student” must receive a certificate of completion.

University employees have a variety of options for training through Penn State, including Office of Human Resources.

EMS medical personnel (i.e. EMT’s, Paramedics, Nurses, Physicians, PA’s) and certified athletic trainers are exempt from the above training requirements.

Work units should contact EHS to determine the appropriate number of employees who need to be trained in order to get AED approval. In general, two to four employees should be trained for each AED requested.


  • 2 pairs of Non-Latex Gloves
  • CPR barrier masks
  • Scissors to easily remove clothing
  • Disposable razor
  • Cloth/towel/gauze

Note: These items can be readily purchased as intact “kits.”


In order that EMS may evaluate the effectiveness of Penn State’s AED program, it is important that any administrative unit using an AED make a report. The administrative unit responsible for the AED should provide EMS with the following information:

  1. Campus or administrative unit.
  2. Date and time AED was used.
  3. Location.
  4. Manufacturer, model number and serial number of AED used.
  5. Name of AED operator.
  6. Name of person on whom AED was used.
  7. Brief description of circumstances under which AED was used.
  8. EMS unit receiving patient.
  9. Hospital that person was transported to, if known.
  10. Name of person making the report.
  11. Date.
  12. Telephone number of person making the report.
  13. E-mail address of person making the report.

If the AED has internal data storage of use, the work unit is responsible to provide the data or the data card (not the AED) to EMS immediately following use of the AED.

For University Park locations, OPP must be notified so that unit is inspected and replacement pads/other supplies can be ordered.  For non-University Park locations the AED Coordinator must ensure that the unit is inspected and replacement pads/other supplies are ordered.



This policy is not intended to cover situations in which the University employs or uses personnel with specific education, certification and/or licensure to deliver emergency care. Personnel such as EMT's, EMT-Paramedics, Registered Nurses, other Health Care Professionals (including certified athletic trainers) may have an AED that they have been authorized to use by virtue of their specific training or medical protocols, and may have other reporting requirements mandated by regulations or statutes.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Effective Date: January 7, 2010

Date Approved: December 31, 2009

Date Published: January 7, 2010 (Editorial changes- May 5, 2017)

Most Recent Changes:

  • May 5, 2017 - Editorial changes. Links have been updated in the RESPONSIBILITIES (AED Work Unit Coordinator), CONTENTS OF "WORK UNIT PLAN TO USE AED UNIT(S) and MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR AEDs sections.

Revision History (and effective dates):


  • June 18, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • October 14, 2010 - Editorial changes, primarily in the CONTENTS OF "WORK UNIT PLAN TO USE AED UNIT(S)" section. Removed the 15 steps detailing the requirements, instead referring users to the Work Unit Plan webform on the EHS website.
  • May 17, 2010 - Editorial changes. Hot links to EHS website added where verbiage indicates "Work Unit Plan to Use an AED” to assist work units.
  • January 7, 2010 - Major re-write of the entire policy to reflect updates in the procedures for the selection, placement, purchase and maintenance of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in all University facilities and vehicles.
  • July 17, 2001 - New Policy.

Date Approved: 

May 5, 2017