In Hong Kong, there is currently no restriction on the usage, ownership and sales of AEDs. Being a leading international financial centre, with many international conferences held in Hong Kong annually, many overseas visitors do expect similar "heart safe" environment as they are used to in their own Country. AED is the Fire-extinguisher equivalent for medical emergencies. The liability is placed on whether places such as leading Hotels and Convention centres, are equipped with such AED devices, more than the responsibility of a failed resuscitation attempt. Family members of visitors with SCA incidents often ask the question whether AED was deployed during the resuscitation attempts at the place of incident. However, it is also highly recommended that AED users do go through a Certificated First Aid Course consisting of CPR and AED training. This Certificate of "Basic Life Support + AED" allows the user to establish his/her credibility for the rescue of the SCA victim. It goes a long way to safeguard the user in the Court of Law. In fact, all users of AEDs would have an AED Program in placed, which would include certified CPR and AED training. See [Deployment] and [Training] sections.
AEDs guide the user during the resuscitation attempt by means of voice prompts and written messages on a screen. The AED will analyze the heart rhythm automatically and will decide whether or not a shock is required. It takes the lay user safely and clearly through the rescue process following the resuscitation guidelines of the American Heart Association or European Resuscitation Council.
In addition, some AEDs are fully automated, where users only require to apply the electrodes on the victim. The AED will automatically detect life threatening arrhythmias and apply a shock when required, after warning the users to stay clear.
In Hong Kong, every ambulance is equipped with an AED in readiness for rescuing sudden cardiac arrest victims.
For information about the training in Hong Kong, visit the Training section or Local AED Provider.
Hong Kong was previously a colony of UK and its legislation is similar to that of UK. There is currently also no rules and regulations to restrict the usage, ownership and sales of AEDs in UK.
In order to provide faster treatment to those with heart problems, the UK is one of the first European countries to successfully implement public access defibrillation programme. During late 2004, the UK Department of Health has placed around 2300 AEDs with Ambulance Services throughout England to increase the number of first responders capable of delivering basic life support within their local community. This deployment supplements the first phase of the programme where AEDs were placed in public places such as shopping malls, railway stations, airports, coach stations and ferry ports.
In the US, each state has specific requirements for establishing an AED program. These requirements typically cover obtaining an AED, training, and medical oversight. For information about the laws in your state, visit the National Center for Early Defibrillation, National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000 [ pdf 92.0KB ] provides additional Good Samaritan protection against liability for properly trained lay rescuers and acquirers of AEDs.
"Liability No Barrier" by Richard Lazar (link goes to National Center for Early Defibrillation)