Are AEDs Required in Schools? Should Schools Have Defibrillators?

Are AEDs required to be in schools? They protect students. They save lives. They drastically improve the chance of surviving sudden cardiac death. They reduce the number of wrongful death and negligence claims against school districts. They would sit perfectly next to the fire alarm and fire extinguisher. But, the answer is maybe, depending upon where you live.

Most school districts appreciate the importance of AED devices; however, they struggle to afford the AED devices. Few states are willing to pass legislation that forces schools to incur this cost. As such, most of the laws about AED devices recommend that schools have them, instead of requiring schools to have them. The majority of states that make them mandatory usually do not provide funding so the law is considered an unfunded mandate.

There is research on the importance of having AED devices in schools:
Requirements for AEDs in Schools
AEDs in High Schools – Disparities

The following states require schools to have an AED device.

Alabama – An AED shall be placed in each public K – 12 school.

Arkansas – State Board of Education shall create rules that require each school campus to have an AED.

California – Every school (public or charter) must have one AED device; the device must be available to coaches and athletic trainers during events.

Florida – Each school that is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association must have an AED on school grounds and it must be registered with local emergency.

Hawaii – All public schools shall have an AED.

Maryland – Each county board shall develop and implement a high school and middle school AED program that includes at least one device that is available during school-sponsored athletic events.

Maine – A school administrative unit shall equip every school with an AED.

Massachusetts:  Each school shall have an AED where instruction is provided.

New Jersey – Janet’s Law requires every school (public and private) to have an AED device that is clearly marked and always available.

New York – Schools shall provide and maintain an AED  in each instructional school facility.

Oregon – Every school campus, (public and private), must have one AED device.

South Carolina – If there is money from the General Assembly, each school district shall develop and implement an AED program in each high school.

Tennessee –  All public schools must have at least one AED within the school.

Texas – Each school district shall have at least one AED. Each district shall also make reasonable effort to ensure there is an AED for athletic events.

West Virginia – An AED and emergency action plan must be present on the school or event grounds during the duration of all athletic events and practices under the control, supervision and regulation of the West Virginia State Athletic Commission.

The following states do not require schools to have an AED device. If there is a law in the state addressesing AED devices, we’ve provided a link.



Connecticut:  If funding is available, an AED shall be available in schools and during school-sponsored activities. There will also be an emergency response plan.

Colorado: If schools acquire an AED, they must comply with training, maintenance and inspection standards.  Furthermore, districts can apply for grants to obtain AED devices.


Georgia – If a school has an AED, it must maintain and test it.





Kentucky – The Department of Education can provide a list of funding resources and encourage local boards to make AEDs available at athletic activities.


Michigan – a public school shall adopt a cardiac emergency response plan which may include an AED.




Montana:  The Office of Public Instruction shall assist districts with teaching about AED devices and obtaining funding to acquire them.

North Carolina

North Dakota – The superintendent shall purchase AED devices and distribute to school districts.



New Hampshire – Access to and education about AED devices in schools is encouraged.

Nevada:  If there is money available (or a donation), the board of trustees of each school district can placed an AED device.

Oklahoma – The Zachary Eckels and Luke Davis Automated External Defibrillator Act states that if funding is available, each school district shall make one available.

Ohio – The Board of Education may require the placement of an AED at each school. The administrative authority of a charter school may do the same.

Pennsylvania:  AED devices are not required, but schools are required to report the number, condition, age and placement of them.