The Ultimate 2024 AED Selection Guide

Explore our comprehensive guide to find the best Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for your education institution needs in 2024, ensuring safety and readiness for cardiac emergencies.

Each year, over 30,000 Australians experience sudden cardiac arrest, highlighting the crucial need for Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

Ziad Nehme, who serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation at Ambulance Victoria states “Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and a significant public health issue in Australia.”

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency where the heart abruptly ceases to beat, leading to a loss of oxygenated blood flow to the brain and other organs. SCA strikes unexpectedly, at any time and does not discriminate.  It can affect anyone including students, staff and visitors alike.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a portable device that delivers a controlled electric shock to the heart. It is essential for resetting the heart’s rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest. While CPR is necessary, it alone cannot restore the heart’s normal rhythm. A readily available defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death.

The Crucial Role of Defibrillators in Schools

Imagine a student collapsing in the hallway, suddenly stricken by cardiac arrest—every second becomes crucial. Defibrillators ensure rapid and effective emergency responses, safeguarding the lives of students, staff, and visitors during cardiac incidents.

Understanding Cardiac Arrest in Young

The young are not immune to cardiac events.

The causes can range from congenital heart defects to certain infections.

The Importance of Quick Response in Cardiac Arrest Cases
Quick response in sudden cardiac arrest cases is critical; if not treated within minutes of occurring, SCA will more often than not result in death.

  • Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the patient’s chance of survival by 7-10%.
  • 90% of patients who do not receive defibrillation do not survive, and most die before reaching a hospital
  • The survival rate of patients who do not receive an AED shock is approximately 3.5%. Source: NCBI

Our mission is to prepare schools for such emergencies and empower every student, and staff member with the knowledge and tools to act swiftly and confidently. This commitment to readiness can transform fear into hope and despair into action, turning bystanders into lifesavers.

Benefits of Having Defibrillators in Schools
Having defibrillators readily accessible in schools is not just a precaution; it’s a profound statement of the community’s commitment to fostering a safe and caring environment. The benefits extend far beyond the direct lifesaving capability:

· Increased Survival Rates: The statistics surrounding increased survival rates associated with the presence of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are compelling. Studies have shown that survival rates can reach as high as 70% if an AED is used within 2 minutes of collapse during a cardiac arrest. Source: CDC

· Empowers Staff and Students: Knowledge and access to AEDs empower school staff and students, giving them confidence in their ability to respond to crises. This empowerment can also ripple into the broader community, as people can use these critical lifesaving skills beyond the schoolyard.

· Establishes an Environment of Care: Equipping schools with AEDs sends students, parents, and teachers a clear message that their well-being is a top priority. It demonstrates a school’s dedication to providing a caring and protective environment.

· Peace of Mind for Students, Staff, and Parents: Implementing AEDs in educational settings significantly enhances safety, providing peace of mind to students, staff, and parents. By reducing anxiety, AEDs ensure a secure learning environment. They prioritise health, equipping the school community to handle cardiac emergencies effectively and promoting a focused, stress-free educational experience.

· Building Stronger Community Partnerships: Establishing community partnerships and implementing an Automatic External Defibrillator Program improves public safety by creating a network of first responders and raising awareness about the importance of immediate action during a SCA event.  Empowering individuals to use an AED quickly, appropriately and with confidence ultimately makes communities safer.


Confused man illustration

Selecting the Right AED for Your School

When choosing an AED for your school, it’s important to consider safety requirements. The ideal AED should be reliable, user-friendly, and have a proven track record of success in emergencies. Accessibility, clear instructions, proper signage, and strategic placement are crucial for effective AED use.

Different Types of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for Schools
Selecting the ideal defibrillator for a school environment involves understanding the various types available, each tailored to specific needs and scenarios.

  • Fully automatic AEDs: analyse the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver a shock without manual intervention. This can be especially helpful in high-pressure situations where the responder may hesitate. We recommend fully automatic AEDs for most educational institutions.
  • Semi-automatic AEDs: require the rescuer to press a button to deliver a shock if the device detects an irregular, shockable rhythm. While this model involves more interaction, it allows the responder to decide to proceed with the shock, providing control over the process.

Regardless of operating mode – fully or semi – an AED will not automatically deliver a shock or instruct a rescuer to press the shock button unless a shock is required.

Criteria for choosing the ideal defibrillator

✔ Ease of Use: Ensuring Quick Response in High-Stress Situations
A defibrillator should be user-friendly and straightforward to operate. Clear, concise instructions and intuitive interfaces are vital for enabling swift and appropriate responses during high-stress situations. Look for defibrillators that provide clear voice prompts, visual guidance, and user-friendly designs to ensure effective use.

Paediatric Capability: Given schools cater to students across different age groups, it is important to consider a defibrillator equipped with paediatric functions. This feature adjusts the energy levels to accommodate the smaller hearts of children, ensuring both safe and effective treatment.

✔ Durability and Longevity: Schools are dynamic settings so opt for a model with sturdy construction that can withstand challenging environments.  AEDs have an Ingress Protection rating, commonly known as an IP rating. It is a measure of an AED’s ability to withstand exposure to dust particles and water.  The higher the score, the greater the protection.

✔ Portability and Accessibility: Schools typically encompass multiple buildings and outdoor areas and frequently organise field trips, making it crucial to select a portable and easily accessible defibrillator. Choose a lightweight model equipped with a carry case for easy transportation or a wall-mounted cabinet for convenient storage.

✔ CPR Feedback: Often referred to as ‘responsive coaching’ this function provides feedback to the rescuer, based on the quality of the CPR compressions being administered.  Responsive coaching provides real time CPR feedback to the rescuer to make immediate improvements which could potentially result in a better outcome.

✔ Storage Requirements: When considering storage options, you should consider available space and factors including likely exposure to dust, water and challenging environments.  When storing an AED outdoors, to maintain the functionality of the AED, it is essential to invest in a weatherproof cabinet to protect it from the elements. While an indoor AED doesn’t necessarily require a cabinet, it should be stored in an easily accessible location. It is recommended positioning the AED between 1.2 and 1.4 metres from the floor to allow access by people of all heights and abilities.

✔ Signage: The location of the AED should be clearly identifiable via signage .  Proper signage ensures quick location of the AED in a medical emergency.

✔ Spare Pads and Batteries: The majority of AEDs are supplied with a set of electrode pads and a battery, however given all pads are single use items and therefore must be replaced after use, consideration should be given to maintaining a spare set.

✔ Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods: Verify that the AED is registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). This certification ensures that the device has undergone rigorous testing and received approval for use in Australia.

✔ Shelf life and maintenance: To ensure reliability in an emergency, consider the defibrillator’s battery life and expiration dates. Opt for defibrillators with long shelf lives and minimal maintenance.

✔ Training and Support: Choose a defibrillator provider that provides training materials, such as instructional videos and clear visual guides, which will assist with using the device confidently and without hesitation.  Furthermore, look for an AED supplier that offers ongoing support and maintenance options and packages to mitigate risk and provide peace of mind that your device is always shock ready.


Recommended Defibrillator Brands for Schools in Australia

Comparison of top-rated defibrillators ideal for educational institutions, aiding in prompt response to cardiac emergencies on school grounds.

LIFEPAK Defibrillators

The LIFEPAK® CR2 series of defibrillators combine advanced medical technology with user-friendly features, ideal for safety-focused environments like schools.

The LIFEPAK® CR2 defibrillators simplify the rescue process with clear instructions and automated functions, making them suitable for untrained responders to deliver effective emergency care. They come with dual-language capabilities, child mode, robust connectivity options (WiFi model) and are designed for durability and reliability.

LIFEPAK® CR2 Essential AED Defibrillator – Fully Automatic

  White Lifepak CR2 Wi-Fi Defibrillator KitAED Authority LifePad CR2 Essential Defibrillator Device With Pads Connected

The LIFEPAK® CR2 Essential AED is a cutting-edge automated external defibrillator that redefines ease of use, making it an optimal choice for educational environments. This device, designed to streamline the rescue process, empowers responders to act swiftly and effectively during cardiac emergencies. Its fully automatic function allows it to analyse the heart rhythm and deliver a shock, when necessary, without manual intervention. This is vital in the high-stress situations often encountered in schools.

Key features that distinguish the LIFEPAK® CR2 Essential include:

  • ClearVoice™ Technology: The device provides clear, calm voice prompts that guide the rescuer through the entire process. Its adaptive audio instructions automatically adjust to the background noise, ensuring clear communication in noisy environments such as school playgrounds or gyms.
  • Layered Design: With intuitive graphics and a straightforward two-step process, the CR2 Essential demystifies the rescue process, seamlessly guiding the user from CPR to defibrillation.
  • Child Mode: With a simple push of a button, the CR2 Essential can adjust the defibrillation output to deliver therapy safely to children. This makes it versatile for use across all educational age groups without the need to purchase separate paediatric electrode pads.
  • High Environmental Protection: The device boasts a high IP55 rating for dust and water resistance, ensuring durability and reliability in various settings, from indoor classrooms to outdoor activities.


  • Opening the lid turns the unit on – no need to press the on/off button!
  • Bilingual – toggle between two pre-set languages
  • QUIK-STEP Electrodes – peel directly off the base for faster side-by-side placement
  • Metronome and CPR Coaching – to assist with administering CPR
  • Battery and Pad Standby Life – 4 years (approx.)
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

Available unit options:

LIFEPAK® CR2 Essential AED Fully-automatic Defibrillator: Automatically shocks the patient if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

LIFEPAK® CR2 Essential AED  Semi-automatic Defibrillator: Shock button is required to be pushed if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

LIFEPAK® CR2 WiFi Defibrillator  – Fully Automatic:

LifePak CR2 Defibrillator With Red Wi-Fi Icon

LIFEPAK® CR2 WiFi AED includes all the features of the essential as well as the following:

  • cprINSIGHT™ Analysis Technology: The CR2 WiFi can analyse heart rhythm during CPR, significantly reducing pause times between compressions and shock delivery. This feature ensures continuous chest compressions, maintaining critical blood flow to the brain and heart, which is essential for increasing survival chances.
  • WiFi Connectivity: The LIFEPAK® CR2 has WiFi for seamless data transfer, system updates, and remote monitoring for AED readiness. This feature ensures the device is always prepared for emergencies without manual checks.
  • LIFELINKcentral™ AED Program Manager: The WiFi connectivity integrates with the LIFELINKcentral™ AED Program Manager, which monitors each CR2 Wifi device. It sends alerts for maintenance, battery replacements, and electrode pad expirations, simplifying AED management.


  • Ease of Use – layered design with easy to follow bold graphics
  • cprINSIGHT Analysis Technology – reduces pauses between CPR and defibrillation
  • Mode of Operation – Fully Automatic (device will deliver shock automatically) or Semi Automatic (user required to push button to deliver shock)
  • Metronome and CPR Coaching  – to assist with administering CPR
  • LIFEPAK TOUGH – IP55 rating for protection against dust and water in challenging environments
  • WiFi Connectivity – track and monitor AED status via WiFi
  • QUIK-STEP Electrodes – peel directly off the base for faster side-by-side placement
  • Child Mode – toggle to child mode for reduced energy, without the need for separate paediatric/child pads
  • ClearVoice Technology – detects background noise and adjusts volume for clear instruction
  • Bilingual – toggle between two pre-set languages
  • Highest Escalating Energy Selection Available: Adult  200J > 300J > 360J  I  Paediatric 50J > 75J > 90J
  • Battery and Pad Standby Life – 4 years (approx.)
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

Available unit options:

LIFEPAK® CR2 WiFi Fully-automatic Defibrillator: Automatically shocks the patient if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

LIFEPAK® CR2 WiFi Semi-automatic Defibrillator: Shock button is required to be pushed if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

Choosing between the LIFEPAK® CR2 WiFi and the CR2 Essential depends on an organisation’s need for cprINSIGHT functionality, connectivity, remote management, and budget.

Heartsine Defibrillators

HeartSine, a global leader in Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), is acclaimed for its innovative and user-friendly cardiac solutions. Established with the mission to make public access defibrillation as ubiquitous as fire extinguishers, HeartSine’s AEDs are designed to be easily operable by anyone in an emergency.

 HeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P Defibrillator – Fully Automatic

SAM 360PHeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P defibrillator machine

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P AED is an ideal fit for school environments, prioritising simplicity and ease of use. Its key features include:

  • Fully Automatic Operation: Automatically delivers a shock when necessary, streamlining the rescue process.
  • Compact and Lightweight: Ensures easy portability and storage within school settings. One of the smallest and lightest devices available at 1.1kg
  • Pad-Pak™ System: Combines battery and electrodes for hassle-free maintenance.
  • SCOPE™ Biphasic Technology: Adjusts shock delivery based on the patient’s needs for enhanced effectiveness.
  • Durability: Rated IP56 for resistance to dust and water, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • CPR Support: Provides visual and audible guidance, including CPR coaching, to optimise rescue efforts.
  • Safety Assurance: Offers peace of mind to the school community by ensuring preparedness for cardiac emergencies.
  • Paediatric Pad-Pak – optional, for use on children between the age of 1 and 8 or up to 25kgs (55lbs).
  • Battery Pad-Pak Standby Life (approx. 4 years)
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

HeartSine Samaritan PAD 500P Defibrillator – Semi-Automatic


HeartSine Samaritan 500P Semi Automatic Defibrillator with Pads Photo of HeartSine 500P AED with lights on 

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 500P is one of the most intelligent defibrillators available.  Featuring CPR Advisor, which provides real time feedback as to the effectiveness of the CPR being administered. Lightest public access defibrillator on the market and ETSO certified (aircraft compliant).

Key features of the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 500P include:

  • CPR Advisor: Unlike many AEDs that merely instruct the rescuer to continue CPR, the 500P offers real-time visual and audible feedback on the force and rate of chest compressions. This feature empowers individuals to perform CPR more effectively. Utilising patented Impedance Cardiography (ICG) technology, the 500P assesses the patient’s blood flow and provides actionable guidance to enhance the quality of CPR.
  • Semi-Automatic Operation: The 500P analyses heart rhythms and prompts the user to deliver a shock if a shockable rhythm is detected. This feature ensures responders are well-informed and prepared before administering a potentially lifesaving shock.
  • Paediatric Compatibility: With the optional HeartSine Pediatric-Pak™, the 500P easily switches to paediatric mode. This mode adjusts the defibrillation output and provides tailored voice prompts for paediatric resuscitation, making it ideal for younger students.

Durability: The PAD 500P boasts a high level of protection against dust and water (IP56 rating), ensuring durability in various school settings, from classrooms to outdoor settings.

Portability: Lightweight and compact

Simplified Maintenance: HeartSine’s Pad-Pak™ cartridge combines the battery and electrodes into a single-use unit, meaning there is only one expiration date to monitor and one item to replace after use or expiration.


  • Simple, user-friendly operation – both visual and audio prompts
  • CPR Advisor – providing real time CPR feedback as to the quality of CPR being administered
  • Semi Automatic – first responder will be instructed to push a button to deliver a shock to the patient, if a shockable heart rhythm is detected
  • Metronome and CPR Coaching  – to assist with administering CPR
  • Exceptionally rugged – IP56 rating for protection against dust and water
  • Lightweight, compact and highly portable – one of the smallest and lightest devices available at 1.1kg
  • Combined battery and electrode cartridge – Pad-Pak – makes maintenance easy and cost effective.
  • Battery Pad-Pak Standby Life (approx. 4 years)
  • Paediatric Pad-Pak – optional, for use on children between the age of 1 and 8 or up to 25kgs (55lbs).
  • Aircraft compliant – ETSO certified Pad-Pak available
  • 8 Year Device Warranty
  • Energy Selection: Adult Pad-Pak 150J > 150J > 200J  I  Paediatric-Pak 50J > 50J > 50J

Phillips Defibrillators

Philips Heart Start HS1 Semi Automatic Defibrillator DevicePhilips Heart Start Defibrillator Machine With Red Case Posed Behind It

Philips is known for innovative healthcare technology, and they offer a range of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) that combine user-friendliness with advanced lifesaving features. These AEDs are designed to help users respond confidently and effectively during cardiac emergencies.

Philips HeartStart HS1 AED

This defibrillator stands out for its speed and simplicity, making it ideal for school environments. A simple step-by-step process with voice instructions empowers even the most inexperienced responder.

Philips HeartStart HS11 Defibrillator MachinePhilips HS1 Paediatric Child Defibrillator Pads





Key features include:

  • Intuitive Operation: Boasts clear voice prompts and CPR coaching, making it user-friendly.
  • Semi-Automatic Functionality: Requires a button press to deliver a shock, ensuring proper usage.
  • Quick Shock Capability: Minimises the interval between CPR and defibrillation, improving survival rates.
  • Smart Analysis System: Monitors heart rhythm and advises shocks only when necessary.
  • Paediatric capability: Yes – with paediatric pads
  • Reliability and Maintenance: Features self-testing and a long-life battery, reducing upkeep efforts.
  • Comprehensive Support: Combines user-friendly design with reliability, essential for school safety and emergency preparedness.
  • Trainer functionality: Adding special pads enables conversion to a non-shockable training device.


  • Simple to use operation
  • Semi Automatic – first responder required to press a button when instructed to do so to deliver shock to the patient if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.
  • Metronome and CPR Coaching  – to assist with administering CPR
  • i Button – provides instant assistance with CPR coaching during a rescue and device information if the unit is beeping
  • Able to be converted to non-shocking training unit with installation of training electrode cartridge.
  • IP21 rating for protection against dust and water
  • Battery Standby Life (approx. 4 years)
  • Electrode Pads Standby Life (approx. 2 years)
  • Paediatric Pads- optional, for use on children between the age of 1 and 8 or up to 25kgs (55lbs).
  • Energy Selection: Adult 150J > 150J > 150J  I  Paediatric 50J > 50J > 50J
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

Philips HeartStart FRx Defibrillator – Semi Automatic

 Philips Heart Start Defibrillator Machine With Red Case Posed Behind It Philips Heart Start FRx Semi Automatic Defibrillator Device With Smart Pads Connected Philips Child Key For A Defibrillator FRx

is designed to be easy to use with intuitive icon-driven operation. its intuitive design makes it an excellent choice for schools. Tailored for immediate use by rescuers, it boasts the following features:

  • Simplicity: Clear, calm voice instructions guide users through each step, making it accessible for all responders.
  • Smart Technology: The device evaluates the patient’s condition, delivering a shock only when necessary to ensure safety and ease of use.
  • Paediatric Capabilities: A simple key insertion adjusts the FRx to paediatric settings, enabling it to be used effectively on children.
  • Rugged Design: Engineered to withstand harsh environments, it is ideal for outdoor school activities and field trips.
  • Trainer options – Easily converts to a non shocking training device


  • Simple to use operation
  • Semi Automatic – first responder required to press a button when instructed to do so to deliver shock to the patient if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.
  • Metronome and CPR Coaching  – to assist with administering CPR
  • Rugged Design – IP55 rating for protection against dust and water
  • Battery Standby Life (approx. 4 years)
  • Electrode Pads Standby Life (approx. 2 years)
  • Child/Infant Key – Converts device to child mode without the need for separate paediatric/child pads.
  • i Button – provides instant assistance with CPR coaching during a rescue and device information if the unit is beeping
  • Energy Selection: Adult 150J > 150J > 150J  I  Paediatric 50J > 50J > 50J
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

Zoll Defibrillators

ZOLL Medical Corporation leads the field in medical devices and state-of-the-art Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). ZOLL AEDs are engineered with a focus on exceptional reliability and user-friendly design, ensuring swift and effective responses in cardiac emergencies.

ZOLL AED PLUS Defibrillator

The ZOLL AED Plus is the most economical of the ZOLL defibrillators. Audio prompts and visual icons guide the first responder through the resuscitation process. ZOLL’s Real CPR Help provides real-time CPR feedback on the rate and depth of chest compressions when used with CPR -D-padz, to assist with the delivery of high quality CPR. Paediatric/Child capability available, paediatric electrode pads required to be purchased separately.

ZOLL AED Plus Green Defibrillator Machine Closed Zoll AED Plus Machine with Close Up Of Screen Interface Zoll AED Plus Defibrillator Machine With Adult Pads Plugged In 


Key benefits include:

  • CPR coaching and real-time feedback with the use of the CPR-D Padz®
  • Lid designed to be placed under a victim’s shoulders to optimize an open airway
  • Rapid Shock Delivery: Minimizes the interval between CPR and shock delivery, crucial in emergency situations.
  • Long-Term Cost Efficiency: Thanks to long-lasting batteries and pads, it boasts one of the lowest total costs of ownership.


  • Easy to Use – audio prompts and visual icons
  • Mode of Operation – Fully Automatic (device will deliver shock automatically) or Semi Automatic (user required to push button to deliver shock)
  • Real CPR Help – to assist with administering high quality CPR (when used with CPR-D-padz)
  • Paediatric Capability – optional, for use on children between the age of 1 and 8 or up to 25kgs (55lbs).
  • Rugged Design – IP55 rating for protection against dust and water
  • Battery and Pad Standby Life – 5 years (approx.)
  • Energy Selection: Adult  120J > 150J > 200J  I  Paediatric/Child 50J > 70J > 85J
  • Optional Paediatric pads – 2-year shelf life
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

Available unit options:

ZOLL AED PLUS   Fully-automatic Defibrillator: Automatically shocks the patient if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

ZOLL AED PLUS   Semi-automatic Defibrillator: Shock button is required to be pushed if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.


ZOLL AED 3 Defibrillator

Neon Green Zoll AED Authority AED 3 Defibrillator Device AED Authority Zoll 3 Defibrillator Device With Pads Connected

The ZOLL AED 3 stands out in emergency preparedness, particularly for educational settings in Australia. It combines cutting-edge technology with user-friendly features, making it ideal for schools: Optional cloud connectivity that can automatically report AED readiness.

  • High-Resolution Touchscreen Display: Provides visual and audio instructions for defibrillation and CPR, with real-time chest compression feedback via Real CPR Help technology.
  • Integrated Pediatric Rescue: Automatically adjusts shock delivery for pediatric patients, ensuring safe use across all age groups.
  • Intelligent battery: that lasts up to 5 years
  • WiFi Connectivity ( optional): Ensures device readiness through automated checks and remote monitoring.


  • Large Colour Touch Screen display with vivid rescue images
  • Mode of Operation – Fully Automatic (device will deliver shock automatically) or Semi Automatic (user required to push button to deliver shock)
  • Real CPR Help – to assist with administering high quality CPR.  Includes CPR cycle timer and large colour bar gauge displaying CPR compression depth.
  • Child Mode – toggle to child mode for reduced energy without  the need for separate paediatric/child pads
  • Optional cloud connectivity that can automatically report AED readiness
  • Rugged Design – IP55 rating for protection against dust and water
  • Battery and Pad Shelf Life – 5 years (approx.)
  • Energy Selection: Adult  120J > 150J > 200J  I  Paediatric/Child 50J > 70J > 85J
  • 8 Year Device Warranty

Available unit options:

ZOLL AED 3 Fully-automatic Defibrillator: Automatically shocks the patient if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

ZOLL AED 3 Semi-automatic Defibrillator: Shock button is required to be pushed if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

Steps for Implementing an AED Program in Schools:

From Planning to Execution

Implementing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program in a school setting requires thorough planning and careful execution. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure successful implementation:

  1. Assessment and Planning:
  • Conduct a risk assessment to determine the number of AEDs needed based on the school’s size, layout, and population.
  • Develop a comprehensive AED plan that includes device selection, placement, maintenance, and integration into the school’s emergency response strategy.
  • Integrate AED use into the school’s emergency response plan to ensure a swift, organised response to sudden cardiac arrests.
  1. Funding and Procurement:
  • Explore funding options, including grants, fundraising, and community partnerships, to support the purchase of an AED and related accessories.
  • Select a reputable supplier that offers a comprehensive package tailored for educational institutions.
  1. Training and Education:
  • Organise CPR and AED training for staff and students via direct training and / or online training, including video resources.
  • Incorporate basic lifesaving skills into the curriculum to foster a culture of safety and preparedness.
  • Empower educators and students with the knowledge and skills to respond confidently in emergencies.
  1. AED Installation and Accessibility:
  • Install AEDs in strategically identified locations to maximize their effectiveness. Place AEDs in highly visible and easily accessible areas. Ensure there are enough AEDs so that a responder can reach the device and deliver a shock to a patient within 3 minutes of a cardiac arrest. Multiple AEDs may be needed for larger campuses or multi-story buildings.
  • Ideal AED locations include:
    • Main Entrance/Lobby: This central point provides immediate access for responders entering the school and covers emergencies in administrative areas.
    • Gymnasiums and Sports Complexes: Physical exertion increases the risk of cardiac incidents, making it essential to place AEDs near gymnasiums, sports fields, and swimming pools.
    • Cafeterias: High-traffic areas during lunch periods and school events, making them strategic locations for AED placement.
    • Auditoriums and Assembly Halls: Prioritize AED accessibility in areas with large gatherings.
    • Playgrounds and Outdoor Areas: For schools with extensive grounds, placing AEDs near outdoor activity areas ensures coverage during recess or sports activities.
    • School Hallways: Strategically placing AEDs in hallways can serve multiple classrooms and common areas, reducing retrieval time during emergencies.
    • Implement clear signage and storage and ensure that AEDs are not locked or obstructed, allowing for quick access during emergencies.
  1. Maintenance and Monitoring:
  • Implement AED inspection checklists and best practices for maintenance
  • Assign specific staff members responsibility for AED maintenance and maintain a log of checks and updates
  • Track batteries and pads, including checking battery life and pad expiry dates. Consider registering your defibrillator on a formal Management Program.
  1. Integration and Awareness:
  • Integrate AED use into the school’s emergency response plans and conduct regular drills to ensure readiness
  • Launch an awareness campaign to educate the school community about AED locations and the importance of timely intervention in cardiac emergencies
  1. Evaluation and Improvement:
  • Regularly review and assess the effectiveness of the AED program by seeking feedback from staff and emergency responders
  • Update the program to address new challenges, incorporate technological advancements, and refine overall emergency response protocols
  1. Community CPR Days:
  • Organise community CPR and AED awareness days to improve public knowledge and emergency readiness. These events offer valuable opportunities for schools to connect with their communities, promoting a culture of preparedness and mutual support.
  • Bringing together students, parents, teachers, and local health professionals fosters an inclusive environment that prioritises education and proactive health measures
  1. Integration with Local Emergency Services:
  • Effective coordination with local emergency response teams can significantly enhance the effectiveness of school AED programs. By streamlining the emergency response process, ensuring emergency services are aware of AED locations, and familiarising school staff with local emergency protocols, crucial minutes can be saved during a cardiac emergency.

Addressing AED Concerns and Overcoming Challenges

Implementing an AED Program in an educational setting is often fraught with concerns including cost, maintenance and perceived complexity. However, the real challenge lies in recognising the profound impact AEDs have on enhancing safety and preparedness within the school setting.

Empowering educators and administrators with AED knowledge and access not only demonstrates a duty of care but reinforces a culture of safety and a secure learning environment.  It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every school is equipped with the necessary tools and training to respond to cardiac emergencies, for the welfare and peace of mind of not only the students but the wider school community.

Safety and Liability Considerations:

Addressing safety and liability concerns for educators and administrators is essential when implementing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools. Successful integration of AEDs depends on clear policies and robust support systems.

Establishing clear guidelines and protocols ensures all potential AED users understand their roles and responsibilities. These measures significantly reduce hesitancy and the risk of misuse, directly addressing liability concerns.

Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to individuals who assist in emergencies, reassuring AED users. Designed to encourage bystander intervention, these laws are crucial for educational administrators to understand and communicate effectively with their staff and community.


Overview of AED Laws and Compliance in Schools Across Australia:

An inequitable state of play

 In Australia, the legislation and guidelines surrounding the provision and use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in schools vary across states and territories. Despite the variations, there is widespread recognition of the important role AEDs play in saving lives and the need to make these lifesaving devices accessible in all educational settings.

Mandatory Requirements: In some regions, AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are now compulsory in schools, acknowledging their vital role in saving lives during sudden cardiac arrests. These mandates typically include detailed guidelines on device maintenance and strategic placement within school premises.

 South Australia AED Legislation

The South Australian Government has recently enacted the Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Act 2022, mandating the installation of AEDs in all public buildings, including schools, universities, libraries, sporting facilities, and local council offices. This requirement also extends to certain privately owned buildings such as shopping centres, aged care facilities, retirement villages, and commercial properties exceeding 600 square meters.

Western Australia AED Mandate

By 30 June 2024, all WA public schools must have at least one AED installed at their premises. Where practical and possible, the AED is to be located on an exterior wall of the main Administration building and be accessible for community use. The AED is required to be procured from a reputable supplier, comply with Australian Standards, and be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Moreover, advocating for policies that support the widespread adoption and effective use of AEDs in schools can drive legislative advancements, improving safety for all. By actively engaging with policymakers, educational institutions can help shape a regulatory environment that prioritises the well-being of both students and staff.

By actively engaging with policymakers, educational institutions can help shape a regulatory environment that prioritises the well-being of students, staff and the wider school community. As awareness and advocacy for cardiac safety in schools grow, more Australian states and territories are expected to introduce specific legislation or enhance existing guidelines to support the widespread adoption of AEDs in educational settings.


General Considerations

Funding and Support: State governments and local councils occasionally provide grants and subsidies to assist with the purchase of an AED.

Public Access Defibrillation Programs: Some regions promote public access defibrillation (PAD) programs to increase AED availability in public spaces, including schools. These programs often include AED registration which aids emergency services in directing rescuers to the nearest AED during cardiac emergencies.

Compliance and Best Practices: Across all jurisdictions, there are recommendations for regular maintenance checks and updates to AED units to ensure their functionality. Adhering to these manufacturer recommendations and best practices, even without strict legal mandates, is vital for the effectiveness of AEDs in emergencies.

Community and Parental Engagement: Schools should communicate with the broader school community, including parents, about the availability and location of AEDs. This engagement fosters widespread awareness and underscores the school’s commitment to health and safety.

Encouraging Proactive AED Usage among Responders

It’s important to move beyond just requiring AEDs in schools and create an environment that encourages readiness to help during emergencies. By integrating CPR and AED training into the curriculum, schools can better prepare individuals to act confidently and save lives. Regular drills with AEDs can make them less intimidating and help bystanders respond more effectively in emergencies.



    The selection and implementation of AEDs in schools is crucial for ensuring safety and preparedness in cardiac emergencies. It can significantly enhance the ability to respond effectively to sudden cardiac arrests and potentially save lives.

    This comprehensive guide aims to equip school decision-makers with the knowledge and resources to make informed choices about AEDs with the objective of fostering a safer environment for the entire school community.


    About AED Authority

    We are driven to improve the sudden cardiac arrest survival rate in Australia by empowering everyday people to save lives.  We do this through education and guidance and by helping more people invest in easy to use, lifesaving defibrillators.

    Sudden cardiac arrest does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. Our mission is to make around the clock access to a life-saving automated external defibrillator (AED) a reality for everyone.

    We are passionate about raising awareness and educating people, not only about the confronting statistics and the prevalence of SCA in our society but about how simple and safe it is to use an automated external defibrillator.  We believe that fostering an environment of awareness, education and readiness can make a monumental difference in cardiac emergency outcomes.

    Join us in our mission to make cardiac safety a top priority in every educational setting.

    Have questions or need more information?

    Use our contact form below to reach out to us for expert assistance and detailed insights on selecting the right AED.


    Why is it important for schools to have an AED?

    The presence of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in schools is vital, significantly boosting survival rates during sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs without warning, even in seemingly healthy young individuals. Prompt use of an AED can restore a normal heart rhythm before emergency medical services arrive, providing a crucial lifeline in a life-threatening situation.

    Deploying an AED within the initial critical minutes of SCA can drastically improve the outcome for the patient. For best chance of survival, it is imperative to use a defibrillator within 3 minutes of SCA onset, as brain death can begin within 4 to 6 minutes due to a lack of oxygenated blood reaching the brain.

    Emergency services typically take 10 to 13 minutes to arrive, making immediate action with an AED essential to bridge the gap between the cardiac event and professional medical intervention. Statistically, 90% of SCA patients do not survive when the event occurs outside a hospital. However, timely defibrillator use can increase survival rates to over 70%, highlighting the lifesaving potential of having access to an AED. 

    Additionally, placing AEDs in schools fosters a safer learning environment, reassuring students, staff, and parents that the school is prepared to respond effectively to emergencies.


    Which type of defibrillator is best for schools?

    The ideal defibrillator for schools is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) specifically designed for ease of use. It should feature clear instructions and voice prompts to guide the user through the rescue. Models equipped with paediatric pads or adjustable settings for children are particularly well-suited to the school environment.


    Can I use AED on a child?

    Yes, an AED can be used on a child in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. If paediatric pads are available and the child is aged 1 to 8 and under 25kgs, they should be used. Paediatric pads reduce the amount of energy delivered during the shock to suit a child’s smaller body. If paediatric pads are not available, do not delay administering assistance.  Adult pads can be used, however it is important to follow the specific instructions provided for placement of adult  pads on a child.


    Are there different AEDs for children?

    Whilst there is no AED model exclusively for children, many AEDs are equipped with paediatric capabilities. This can be through the use of paediatric pads an infant child key or a child button on the defibrillator which adjust the device for paediatric use. Paediatric capabilities ensure the electrical shock delivered is appropriate for a child’s smaller body and heart.


    What is a paediatric AED?

    A paediatric AED is not a separate device. It refers to the capability of an AED to adjust its defibrillation therapy when used on a child, typically between the ages of 1 and 8 or under 25 kg. This adjustment is usually made possible via paediatric pads, an infant key or child button on the defibrillator, reducing the energy level of the shock. Paediatric capability is essential, particularly in a school setting, to ensure that responders can provide age-appropriate care during cardiac emergencies.


    Are defibrillators safe to use without any training?

    Yes, defibrillators, specifically AEDs, are designed to be safe and simple to use.  No training is needed as they provide clear visual and verbal instructions that guide the first responder through each step of the rescue process. Each defibrillator is slightly different though, so it is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the model you have chosen.


    What is the easiest AED to use?

    The easiest AED to use is one that offers clear, concise instructions through voice prompts and visual aids. Devices with simple interfaces, minimal buttons, and automatic shock delivery (where the machine determines if a shock is necessary and delivers it without user intervention) are the easiest to operate.


    How do I choose the right AED for my school?

    Choosing the right AED for your school involves considering several factors: ease of use, paediatric capability, durability, maintenance requirements, and cost. Look for an AED with clear instructions (voice and visual prompts), the ability to switch to a paediatric mode if needed and comprehensive after-sales support from the AED supplier. Additionally, considering the school’s layout to ensure optimal placement and accessibility will help determine the number of units required.


    How many AEDs should a school have?

    The number of AEDs a school should have depends on its size, layout, and population density. A general guideline is to have enough AEDs to ensure that a responder can retrieve the device and return to the patient to deliver a shock within 3 minutes of a cardiac arrest. For larger campuses or multi-story buildings, multiple AEDs may be necessary to meet this guideline.


    How much does an AED cost?

    The cost of an AED can vary widely, generally ranging from $1,600 to $2,500+ or more per unit. The price varies dependant on features, including but not limited to, paediatric capabilities, device technology, connectivity and included accessories. Schools may also need to budget for additional costs, such as replacement pads, batteries and storage and signage requirements.


    How to use an AED?

    Using an AED involves several key steps, however it will guide you through each step of the rescue, from turning on the device until the arrival of emergency service personnel.

    First step is to check for danger and ensure the area is safe for yourself, bystanders and the patient, then on the AED and follow the voice and/or visual prompts.

    If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, attach the AED pads to their bare skin as indicated by the diagrams on the pads. Follow the audio and visual prompts, which may include performing CPR, rescue breaths and delivering a shock to the patient (semi-automatic models only) or standing clear of the patient whilst a shock is delivered (fully-automatic models only).  The main thing is to stay calm and follow the audio and visual instructions until emergency services arrive.

    How to Purchase AEDs for Schools?

    Purchasing AEDs for schools generally involves:

    • Researching various models to find one that meets the institution’s specific needs
    • Considering factors such as ease of use, paediatric requirements, durability, maintenance and cost.

    Schools can purchase AEDs through specialised resellers such as AED Authority Australia. To offset costs, exploring funding options such as grants, fundraising events, or partnerships with local businesses and community organisations can be beneficial.


    What are essential defibrillator accessories?

    Essential defibrillator accessories can include paediatric pads (ideal particularly for junior schools and kindergartens), spare adult electrode pads, spare battery (optional), a carry case for mobile units, wall-mounted storage cabinets for fixed units, signage to indicate AED locations, and first responder kits containing items like scissors (for cutting clothing), a razor (for shaving chest hair), gloves, and a CPR mask. These accessories ensure the AED is stored appropriately, easily identifiable and ready for use in an emergency and aid in the response effort.


    Should schools have defibrillators?

    Yes, schools should have defibrillators as part of their emergency response plans. Given the critical role AEDs play in increasing survival rates following sudden cardiac arrest, having these devices readily available in schools can save lives. Their presence also contributes to creating a safer educational environment for students, staff, and visitors.


    Do all schools have defibrillators?

    Regrettably, many schools still lack defibrillators. However, there is growing awareness of their critical role in emergency preparedness. The availability of AEDs in schools varies significantly based on local directives, policies, and financial resources. Increasingly, educational institutions and governments are advocating for and implementing policies to ensure broader access to AEDs in schools.


    How can a school obtain a free defibrillator?

    Schools may be able to acquire a defibrillator at a reduced or no cost by applying for grants from state and local governments and charitable foundations, participating in programs offered by health organisations, or partnering with local businesses and community groups willing to sponsor the purchase.

    Additionally, some government agencies provide funding or directly supply AEDs to schools as part of public health initiatives.


    Can a school be sued for using an AED?

    Good Samaritan laws grant immunity to individuals who act in good faith to provide emergency care, including the use of an AED, without expecting compensation. These laws generally protect schools when responders use AEDs during emergencies. To mitigate liability risks further, schools should familiarise themselves with local laws and ensure compliance with any training or maintenance requirements.


    How to Implement an AED Program in Schools?

    Implementing an AED program in schools involves several steps:

    • Assessing the need and determining the number of AEDs required
    • Selecting appropriate devices
    • Installing the AEDs in inaccessible locations
    • Establishing a maintenance plan for the devices
    • Integrating the use of AEDs into the school’s emergency response protocols

    Regular review and practice drills ensure the school community is prepared to respond effectively to a sudden cardiac arrest incident.


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