Safety Policies

SY22 Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Matthew Moritz, 863-3756,

Policy Steward: 

Director of Environmental Health and Safety




This policy provides structure for the purchase, placement, installation, and maintenance of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in 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. 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 AEDs 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 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s medical devices 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 DS11536 10/16.

Public Access Defibrillation Guidelines, [Federal Register: May 23, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 100)] Pages 28495-28511]



AED (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 AED 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, installation and maintenance of AEDs at Penn State shall conform to the requirements established in this policy and the AED Program. No work unit is permitted to purchase or install an AED without following the process established herein.

The content of this policy is applicable to all Penn State locations except University Health Services, Penn State Health and the College of Medicine.



Medical Advisor for the University AED Program – The Senior Director of University Health Services (UHS) has been designated as the medical advisor for the AED Program.  This individual is responsible for providing oversight for the medical components of this program.


Environmental Health and Safety – A designated AED Program Manager within Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Office of Physical Plant (OPP), oversees the administration of the AED Program.  The specific responsibilities are detailed in the AED Program.


Police and Public Safety – Police play an important role in the AED Program as emergency responders.


Emergency Medical Services (EMS) – Primarily assist in the post event recovery of data from an AED.  Additional responsibilities are detailed in the AED Program.  


Department, Unit or Campus - The Administrative Unit Head is responsible to ensure that all components of this policy are implemented when an AED(s) is/are purchased and installed within areas of their jurisdiction. Additional responsibilities are detailed in the AED Program.  


AED Work Unit Coordinator – An AED Work Unit Coordinator is a designee who will represent the work unit and administer and maintain the program. The responsibilities of the AED Work Unit Coordinator are listed in detail in the AED Program.


AED Advisory Committee – The AED Advisory Committee is comprised of more than a dozen stakeholders in the AED Program. Stakeholders who are included on this committee include representatives from Environmental Health & Safety, Intercollegiate Athletics, the Commonwealth Campuses, Risk Management, the Office of Physical Plant, Police and Public Safety, Auxilliary & Business Services, University Health Services and academic work units. Their role and objectives are listed in detail in the AED Program. 



No AED may be purchased or installed without written approval from the AED Program Manager. All AEDs must be purchased through EHS except for those purchased by University Police and Public Safety.

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

  1. Designate an AED Work Unit Coordinator who will represent the work unit and administer and maintain the program.
  2. Contact EHS to determine whether the desired AED placement meets the “Criteria for AED Placement.” Funding of the AED is based on whether the placement criteria are met. 
  3. Complete the “Application to Acquire and Install an AED” for each building where an AED would be placed.
  4. Submit the completed application and attach a completed “AED Work Unit Training Roster” to EHS.
    1. If the application is satisfactory, EHS will order any approved AED(s) and/or initiate any work orders to have the AED(s) installed.
    2. If not, additional information may be requested.
  5. Once installed at University Park, or delivered to the non-University Park location, the AED information is entered into the EHS - AED Asset database for tracking.


The make and model of AEDs placed in service across the University has been standardized.  EHS, in consultation with UHS, EMS and the AED Medical Advisor, will consider alternatives when appropriate.  Detailed information on the make and model of approved AEDs and what is to be included in an AED installation can be found in the AED Program.


Only approved items, as listed in the AED Program, may be placed in an AED cabinet. Any exception to this list must be approved and documented by the Director of EHS and the AED Program Manager.  This list can be found in section 5.6 of the AED Program.

See the section “Donated AEDs” if your work unit could be the recipient of a donated AED.


Criteria for AED Placement:

Placement criteria for AEDs at Penn State have been established by EHS and the AED Advisory Committee.  


Risk Placement Criteria:

  • Facilities/Activities which meet at least one of the following:
    • Fitness facilities, including swimming pools.
    • Presence of high-risk populations.  An example would be large gathering areas that include older populations such as airports or hotels.
    • Personnel engaging in high risk activities.  Examples would include high risk team sports, energized electrical work, provision of health care, or exposure to elevated heat levels.
  • Facilities that meet at least two of the following:
    • Difficult to navigate based on size, configuration or restrictions that inhibit immediate access.
    • Use by large numbers of people, but not necessarily at-risk populations.
    • Location is more than a three-minute response time for an AED to arrive from Police or EMS.


  • Additionally, there is an AED available for each University Police and Public Safety marked patrol vehicle.


Funding of AEDs

  • Self-supporting Operations - Funding for AEDs, including installation and signage, is the responsibility of the work unit, even if they meet the placement criteria.
  • Non-Self-supporting Operations –
    • If the high or moderate risk placement criteria are met - AEDs are centrally funded through EHS
    • If the high or moderate risk placement criteria are not met - For those work units which do not meet the established high or moderate risk placement criteria, but still choose to purchase an AED, the responsibility for meeting all components of the AED Policy and the AED Program belong to the work unit.
  • Work units must follow all aspects of the AED Program no matter who funds the AED.

Maintenance and Inspection Requirements:

Continuous equipment maintenance is an important element in ensuring a successful program. AEDs are maintained through monthly inspections and routine parts replacement. Details on AED inspection requirements can be found in the AED Program.


AED Disposition:

All AEDs must be taken out of service when they reach an age to be determined by the AED Program Manager.

EHS will work with each work unit to replace each AED as necessary. All AEDs, regardless of which work unit purchased them, must be returned to EHS for final disposition and notification to the manufacturer that they have been removed from service.


Incident Notification and Documentation:

  • Work units must make notification to EHS within 24 hours of an incident involving an AED at Penn State.
  • The administrative unit responsible for the AED shall provide the AED Program Manager and EMS with a completed “AED Post Incident Usage Report.”
  • The purpose of notifying EHS is so that the data can be extracted and the process to put the AED back into service can begin.


AED Data Retrieval:

The AEDs at Penn State have internal data storage that must be evaluated by EMS after a use. The procedure for having the data extracted from the AED can be found in detail in the AED Program.


Annual Self-Review

Annually, work units shall review their AED Program for compliance in the areas of training, record keeping and maintenance.


Donated AEDs:

Donated AEDs may be accepted by Penn State; however, the AED must meet certain criteria that are described in detail in the AED Program. The AED must be approved by and documented with EHS, maintained according to this policy and turned in to EHS for disposition when requested.



It is the responsibility of the work unit to provide or arrange for training and refresher training in CPR/AED use for building occupants. CPR/AED training must be recertified every two years. Due to training required by their jobs, EMS medical personnel (i.e., emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic, nurse, physician, physician’s assistant), police officers and certified athletic trainers are exempt from the above training requirement.


More information on CPR/AED training requirements can be found in the AED Program that accompanies this policy.



All records associated with an AED shall be kept according to retention times established within the AED Program.



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 EMTs, paramedics, registered nurses, other health care professionals (including certified athletic trainers) may have an AED that they have been authorized to use by 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 Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 814-865-6391.


Most Recent Changes:

  • January 13, 2023 - Editorial change to update Policy Steward.
  • November 5, 2021 - Policy Status and Subject Matter Expert has been changed.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • Changed Placement Criteria for the Commonwealth Campuses to be the same as University Park; Added the AED Advisory Council as a responsible party; Added Police and Public Safety as a responsible party and include them as being exempt to training requirements due to the training they are required to have as part of their job requirements; “High risk sports” now used in place of Division I or III sports; Clarified that AEDs are available in each Police patrol vehicle; Added information regarding donated AEDs.
  • November 18, 2019 - Major rewrite to align with current practices.  Clarified several issues.
  • 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.
  • June 18, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, if 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 web form 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: 

November 18, 2019

Date Published: 

November 18, 2019

Effective Date: 

November 18, 2019