RD604 - Report on Automated External Defibrillator Density in Virginia’s Commercial and Residential Buildings – November 2021

Executive Summary:

Today’s automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are self-operating, safe, and relatively easy to use, even by untrained lay rescuers. Because the modern AED can be used by the untrained public, Virginia deregulated AED use in 2003. In an effort to gather more information about AED density in buildings across the commonwealth, item 116 of the 2020 Budget Bill (HB 30) directed the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to convene a workgroup to study the ideal AED density in commercial and residential buildings. DHCD convened a workgroup of public and private industry representatives to develop a survey on current AED density and usage in the commonwealth. The survey was sent to the occupants of commercial and residential buildings across the commonwealth and received 184 responses.

Within commercial buildings, the vast majority of respondents (77.4%) reported having at least one AED. These numbers varied widely across industry groups however, with 100% of correctional facilities (as required by law) and 88.5% of schools having AEDs, but only 11.5% of retail, restaurants, and other businesses. While it is difficult to draw specific conclusions from the data, correctional facilities, retail, restaurants, and other businesses tend to have one AED per building, while schools have one or two per building, with some having an AED on every floor. Within residential buildings, only half of respondents reported having an AED in their facilities, and most reported a density of one AED per building. Respondents in both commercial and residential buildings referenced the American Heart Association’s guidelines of a three minute response time (90 seconds away from any emergency) when asked what rules, standards, or policies governed AED density and placement.

The survey suggested at least some perceived need for more AEDs across all industries and building types. However, many respondents were concerned about the cost of installing and maintaining AEDs, and there is little to no outside financial support for increasing AED density. Respondents in retail, restaurants, and other businesses indicated that AED/square foot would be a useful density measurement for AEDs, while respondents in correctional facilities indicated AED/inmate, schools indicated AED/floor, and residential buildings indicated AED/number of rooms.