AED Purchase Planning: How Many for Your Facility Do You Need?

When you’re getting ready to make an AED purchase, knowing the precise number of defibrillators to have readily available in a facility is a crucial factor for saving a life.

With only 10 minutes or less to act in the event of a cardiac emergency by delivering a controlled electric shock and administering CPR, the combination of life-saving know-how and easy access to medical devices is critical.

Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed and heard of many events in which an automated external defibrillator (AED) was too far away or hard to locate within this critical rescue window. In those circumstances, one AED just wasn’t enough. Especially since not everybody knew where the device was even placed.

There’s no question that having an adequate number of AEDs readily available in a facility can be crucial in responding to sudden cardiac arrest emergencies and increasing the chances of survival.

The question is: How many AEDs? And does that figure apply to all kinds of spaces?



AED Purchase Factors

Not every AED purchase is the same. The recommended number of AEDs for a facility depends on several factors, including:

  1. Size of the facility: Larger facilities generally require more AEDs to ensure rapid access from any given location within the premises.
  2. Number of occupants: Facilities with higher occupancy levels, such as schools, office buildings, or shopping malls, may need more AEDs to accommodate the increased risk of cardiac emergencies.
  3. Level of risk: Certain facilities, such as fitness centers, may have a higher risk of cardiac incidents due to the nature of activities performed, necessitating more AEDs.
  4. Response time: The goal is to have an AED available within a 3-minute response time from any point in the facility, as brain damage can begin as early as 4-6 minutes after a cardiac arrest.



AED Purchase Calculation: Knowing Your Optimal Number 

To calculate the recommended number of AEDs for your facility, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the total square footage of the facility.
  2. Divide the total square footage by the maximum coverage area for a single AED, typically ranging from 75,000 to 150,000 square feet.
  3. Round up the result to the nearest whole number to get the minimum number of AEDs required.
  4. Consider additional factors, such as high-risk areas, building layout, and response time obstacles, and adjust the number of AEDs accordingly.

For example, if your facility is 200,000 square feet and you use a maximum coverage area of 100,000 square feet per AED, the calculation to make a correct AED purchase for your facility would be:

200,000 square feet ÷ 100,000 square feet per AED = 2 AEDs (minimum)



How Many AEDs Are Required For Multiple Floors?

If your facility has multiple floors or obstacles that could impede response time, you may want to increase the number of AEDs to ensure rapid access from all areas.

It’s essential to remember that making an AED purchase is just one part of an effective cardiac emergency response plan. Regular training, maintenance and clear signage indicating AED locations are also crucial components.

By carefully evaluating your facility’s needs and following these guidelines, you can determine the optimal number of AEDs to have on-site, potentially saving lives in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency.


Before your next AED purchase, make sure you’re buying the proper number of AEDs for your office, home, club or any sized facility. Talk to the experts at AED.US first at 888-652-1882.