Office of General Services

New York State Office of General Services - Building Administration: AED Program
OGS Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Automated External Defibrillation (AED) Program?
A: The goal of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program is to train volunteers to come to the aid of individuals suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the workplace within a 3 to 5 minute response time. The chances of survival from SCA fall by seven to ten percent with each passing minute. Therefore, trained responders onsite are critical to survival. Until recently, only a specially-trained medical professional, such as a physician, nurse or paramedic, was able use a defibrillator to help save an individual suffering from SCA. Now bio-technical advances have put this same lifesaving technology into the hands of lay responders. AEDs, which have been specifically designed for the lay responder, are designed to interpret the heart's rhythm and determine if a shock is needed. That means anyone with minimal training can deliver CPR and a lifesaving shock before emergency care arrives, dramatically improving cardiac arrest survival rates. Having an AED in the workplace - and training individuals to use it - better prepares us to save a life. The State of New York wants to ensure a safer workplace for our colleagues and visitors. That is why we are seeking to train volunteers in how to use an AED.

Q: What is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?
A: An AED is a device that administers an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart. Built-in computers are designed to assess the patient's heart rhythm, judge whether defibrillation is needed and then administer the shock. Audible and/or visual prompts guide the user through the process.

Q: How does an AED work?
A: A microprocessor inside the defibrillator analyzes the patient's heart rhythm through the adhesive electrode pads the responder attaches to the patient's chest. The computer is designed to analyze the heart rhythm and advise the operator whether a shock is needed. The electric current is delivered through the patient's chest wall through adhesive electrode pads.

Q: What causes a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)?
A: A sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), is caused by a genetic or physical abnormality - often undiagnosed – that suddenly triggers the natural electric pacing of the heart muscle and causes the pacing of the heart muscle to go haywire.
SCA has been compared to a computer "freezing up" from too much input. The electrical storm of these unnatural rhythms makes the heart muscles quiver or "fibrillate" out of control and does not allow the heart's muscle to naturally expand and contract with a steady rhythm to pump blood. Without blood flow bringing oxygen to the brain, a person experiencing SCA will lose consciousness within seconds.

Q: Who is at risk of sudden cardiac arrest or SCA?
A:SCA is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association (August 2006), it strikes about 335,000 Americans each year: nearly one death every two minutes. And it can strike anyone - old or young, anywhere, at any time.

Q: Can't CPR save someone in SCA?
A: Although it is vital to call 9-1-1 and to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately, it's often not enough. CPR can keep the oxygen already in the body circulating to the vital organs, but only a shock delivered by a defibrillator can restore the heart's normal electrical rhythm needed for circulation. An individual's chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest improves dramatically when a trained person is available to use the AED.