Can You Use an AED Without Being Certified?

When someone has a heart attack or experiences some other form of cardiac arrest, the prompt use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) device alongside immediate emergency medical care can be vital to saving that person’s life. Because of this, the state of Maryland has imposed numerous restrictions on business owners of all kinds to purchase and maintain AED devices on their property and ensure those devices are easily accessible to both employees and customers.

If you have never used an AED before, you may wonder whether there are legal restrictions on using an AED without being certified by a state-approved training program. Below is a brief overview of what state law requires of business owners in this regard, as well as what protection it offers to both medical professionals and regular civilians who try to use AEDs to save another person’s life.

AED Certification Requirements for Business Owners

Under Maryland state law, any person who purchases an Automated External Defibrillator to be placed inside their business, home, or anywhere else must maintain that AED in good working order, complete EMS Board-required AED training, and refresh that training regularly. In addition, they must test their AED regularly and in accordance with instructions from the device’s manufacturer and keep written records of all maintenance and testing performed on the device.

Businesses and other facilities that purchase and maintain AEDs on-site must also register with whatever emergency medical services operation program is closest to them. Finally, whenever an AED is used, someone must notify emergency services by calling 911 and report the device’s use to whatever emergency medical services operation program has jurisdiction over the area. A qualified premises liability attorney could offer further guidance about these regulations and what impact they might have on civil liability for a heart attack on commercial property during a confidential consultation.

Good Samaritan Protections for AED Users

Under Maryland state law, a person who uses an AED on someone else cannot be held civilly liable for their actions or any failure to act on their part, so long as:

  • They were acting in good faith to render aid to someone who either was experiencing cardiac arrest or who they reasonably believed was experiencing cardiac arrest
  • They provided help in a “reasonably prudent manner”
  • The AED use was provided for free without any form of compensation

This law provides “Good Samaritan” protections even to people without formal training in proper AED use. Maryland state law also explicitly grants civil immunity to:

  • Registered facilities that meet all requirements for making an AED available on their property and have a valid certification
  • Regional council AED committee members who supervise the provision of automated external defibrillation
  • Registered facilities or an individual whose actions do not amount to gross negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or intentionally tortious conduct.

If you have any questions about the legal implications of using an AED device, reach out to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.