California has some of the nation’s strictest requirements when it comes to automated external defibrillators (AEDs). These devices—which are designed to restore normal heart function in a cardiac arrest emergency—are required in schools, gyms, and a variety of other public places. If you manage any sort of business or public facility in the Golden State, you need to familiarize yourself with the AED requirements in California.
AEDs Are Required in Most California Schools
Under Education Code §35179.6, at least one AED must be present in each California school with an interscholastic athletic program. The AED must be tested and maintained on an ongoing basis, and any expected users (such as coaches) must undergo CPR and AED training.
Recommended AED for Schools: Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR2
The LIFEPAK CR2 is ideally suited for schools because it caters to patients of all ages. It features a Child Mode button that instantly reduces the level of shock for pediatric patients under 8 years old and under 55 pounds.
The CR2 also features ClearVoice audible instructions so that untrained users can confidently perform CPR and defibrillation. And because schools are staffed with diverse personnel, the LIFEPAK CR2 can toggle between English and Spanish voice coaching. In addition, the CR2 is one of the only AEDs on the market that allows for CPR compressions during heart rhythm analysis, meaning that essential treatment is administered more quickly in those critical minutes.
AEDs Are Mandated in Certain California Buildings
California Health and Safety Code §19300 requires defibrillators in certain buildings constructed or renovated after January 1, 2017. AEDs must be placed in:
- Assembly buildings with an occupancy of greater than 300.
- Business buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more.
- Educational buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more.
- Factory buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more.
- Institutional buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more.
- Mercantile buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more.
- Residential buildings with an occupancy of 200 or more, excluding single-family and multifamily dwelling units.
The law also provides liability protection for applicable buildings that have an AED available on site.
Recommended AED for Public Buildings: Philips HeartStart OnSite AED
The Philips HeartStart OnSite is the world’s best-selling AED, and for good reason. With its intuitive voice coaching and pre-installed pads and battery, it’s one of the easiest AEDs to use. This is important in a building that caters to hundreds of people, as you never know who’s going to have to use the device in an emergency.
AEDs in large buildings also tend to be neglected and forgotten. Thankfully, the OnSite performs 85 self-tests per month and alerts you if a problem arises or if a component (such as the battery) needs to be replaced. You can always be sure that the device is emergency-ready.
Finally, you need a lightweight AED that a person can easily run long distances with. At just 3.3 pounds, the OnSite is one of the lightest AEDs available.
Every California Gym Must Have an AED
Gym AED requirements in California are also strict. According to the state’s Health and Safety Code §104113, all health studios must possess and maintain an AED, and personnel must be trained to use it. The state defines a health studio as any facility that permits the use of equipment for physical exercise, fitness training, or a similar purpose on a membership basis. Hotels and other non-membership facilities are exempted from this rule.
Recommended AED for Gyms: Defibtech Lifeline VIEW
The Defibtech Lifeline VIEW is perfect for rugged environments like gyms because it can withstand the roughest conditions. It weighs less than 3 pounds but has withstood crush-testing up to 1,000 pounds. It even meets military standards for drop-shock resistance.
Perhaps best of all, it’s just simple to use. It’s the only AED that offers full-color video demonstration in real time, and it effortlessly guides the user through chest compressions, rescue breathing, and defibrillation. The coaching can even be modified based on the user’s experience level, so if an emergency occurs when no trained staff is available, a layperson can still use it.
Adult Care Facilities in California Must Have an AED
An AED is required in every Adult Residential Facility for Persons with Special Health Care Needs (ARFPSHN). California Health and Safety Code §1538.55 further requires that the facility report to the State Department of Developmental Services within 24 hours whenever an AED is used.
An ARFPSHN is defined as “any adult residential facility that provides 24-hour health care and intensive support services in a homelike setting that is licensed to serve up to five adults with developmental disabilities.”
Recommended AED for Adult Care Facilities: HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P
Retailing for less than $1,350, the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P is one of the most cost-effective AEDs on the market. When it comes to small-scale residential care, cost is commonly an important factor. Despite the low price tag, though, this world-class AED is rugged, extremely lightweight, and easy to use.
The real-time CPR and defibrillation coaching is simple to follow, and the straightforward two-button operation eliminates confusion in an emergency. One button activates the coaching, and the other delivers a shock.
Most Public Pools Have an AED Requirement
AED requirements in California also mandate that public pools where lifeguard services are provided keep a defibrillator on their premises. According to Health and Safety Code §116045 and §116046, applicable pools include those of artificial construction and those that charge a fee for use. The AED must be readily available whenever the pool is open for business.
The rule does not apply to free community pools, such as those commonly found in housing developments and apartment complexes—although an apartment building may require its own AED if it meets the criteria outlined in the “California Buildings” section above.
Recommended AED Accessory for Public Pools: Waterproof Cabinet
Any of the aforementioned AEDs in this article is suitable for public pools, especially child-friendly models like the LIFEPAK CR2. But when equipping a pool with an AED, there’s one important accessory that shouldn’t be overlooked: a waterproof cabinet.
We recommend this outdoor AED Cabinet, which is made with fiberglass-reinforced polyester and designed to house any size AED. It’s equipped with stainless-steel hinges so you can padlock the AED when the pool isn’t in use.
Remaining in Compliance With California AED Laws
An AED is essential for any public facility in which large numbers of people gather, whether or not it’s mandated by law. In many cases, the mere presence of an AED can protect you from personal liability if someone dies from cardiac arrest while on your property.
Also, remember that it’s not enough to simply have an AED on the premises. California AED laws mandate that:
- The device needs to be operational and emergency-ready at all times.
- The device needs to be inspected for readiness on a regular basis.
- The device needs to be stored in a common area, easily accessible and highly visible.
- The device needs to be identifiable with proper AED signage.
Our AED Program Management offers a comprehensive solution that ensures all of the above compliance needs (as well as many others) are met. Call us at (855) 888-2771 to get in touch with one of our team members for additional information.