• From the Vault

Are You Ready to Put an Automated External Defibrillator in Your Bank?

July 24, 2017

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device used to treat victims who experience sudden cardiac arrest. It is designed to detect an abnormal heart rhythm and, if needed, send an electric shock to the heart to correct that rhythm.

AEDs are becoming commonplace in many bank locations because:

  • AEDs are effective in correcting abnormal heart rhythms.
  • AEDs are simple to use. A shock will not be delivered unless the device detects an abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40.
  • The cost continues to decrease, and is now in the range of $750 to $2,000 per unit.

Risk Management Considerations

Before you purchase an AED, there are a few things to consider:


  • If you plan to rent or lease an AED, there should be a service agreement in place for a technician to provide annual service and testing on the equipment.  Like any battery, over time the leads on the defibrillator could erode, resulting in the AED not working properly. Regular service can prevent this from happening, as well as help to ensure the machine is always charged.
  • If you plan to purchase the AED, then a service agreement with the seller of the AED should still be procured and followed per the manufacturer’s guidelines.


  • Develop a training plan. Train specific employees, ideally one per shift, in the use of the AED. CPR and AED classes are often provided by most local fire departments and local Red Cross chapters. It’s a small investment of time for the employee and cost for you, and certification generally lasts two years.

Legal Background

The federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, signed into law in 2000, was implemented to expand the use of AEDs in public areas and provide limited immunity from civil liability to a person who uses or attempts to use an AED on a victim of a perceived medical emergency. Also, all 50 states now include AED usage as part of their Good Samaritan laws. The laws vary by state, but generally protect a bystander from civil liability for voluntarily aiding someone who is injured or ill in an emergency.  A link to specific state laws is located at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/laws-on-cardiac-arrest-and-defibrillators-aeds.aspx


The decision to put an AED your bank can be complex, and will require additional policies and procedures to be created across the entire organization. As with any new endeavor, you should consult with your insurance agent before leasing or purchasing an AED.


This article is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or risk management advice. Readers should consult their own counsel for such advice.

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