Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Automatic External Defibrillators and Business Liability

A new Pennsylvania law provides protection for businesses that place automatic external defibrillators on their premises. It also protects bystanders who rush to help someone in an emergency by performing CPR or using an AED.

AEDs are portable devices that check heart rhythm. They can also send an electric shock to restore a normal heart rhythm, if needed. More of these devices are becoming available to treat sudden cardiac arrest. Use of AEDs can greatly increase survival.

Pennsylvania now joins 36 other states that already provide legal protection for businesses who install AEDs and bystanders who rush to offer CPR.

In the past, some businesses may have been cautious about installing AED because of premises liability concerns. The new legislation addresses those concerns by providing legal protection for businesses who install the small devices.

A spokesperson for the American Heart Association explained, "Pennsylvania citizens, businesses and non-medical emergency response providers shouldn't have to think twice about personal liability when they are trying to do the right thing in an emergency."

Considerations Following the Change in Law

Businesses who install AEDs must make sure the devices stay in working order and they may want to train staff on proper usage. The AEDs are simple to use and training only takes a couple of hours. The price has also started to decrease.

AEDs in the community can reduce sudden cardiac deaths, because survival rates drop seven to 10 percent for every minute that passes without help. CPR and AEDs can be used together with one person providing CPR while another goes to get the AED.

Source: York Dispatch, "New law protects bystanders who give CPR," Chelsea Shank, July 6, 2012.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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