A tool that helps victims of cardiac arrest, may be soon required at many buildings on Oahu, if a proposed bill ends up passing.

The device is called an automated external defibrillator, or AED for short.

The bill would mandate that all city buildings and newly-constructed buildings have an AED available.

Heart experts say AEDs can help save lives. If someone is experiencing a heart attack, the device can help a patient quicker than waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Having AEDs accessible in more buildings may promote public health and safety, but at what cost?

“Currently there is a law in place that just states that there is no responsibility or liability to any company that chooses to put an AED in there is no liability to anybody who performs CPR,” explained Pamela Foster, president of the AED Institute.

Foster says early access to the device saves lives.

“An AED needs to be placed within two to three minutes to make the biggest difference in survival,” said Foster.

That’s how bill 69 comes into play. It would mandate buildings to have an AED on each floor if the building is:

  • owned or leased by the City and County of Honolulu
  • constructed on or after 2018
  • houses 20 or more people

KHON2 asked when if includes both newly-constructed private and publicly owned.

“That would be correct,” responded Honolulu councilmember Brandon Elefante.

But what about homes?

“Homes would not include that for the most part but buildings would have that,” Elefante clarified.

But, the councilman says apartment complexes with 20 or more residents would be mandated to have AEDs under this bill.

KHON2 was also curious about the cost of requiring buildings to have the AEDs.

“It can range from $1,500 to $2,500 even more it just depends on the quantity and the amount that is purchased and the type of brand or machine,” said Elefante.

At this point, Elefante does not know how many city owned or leased buildings would need AEDs, and how much total that would cost taxpayers.

He says building management or tenants would be responsible for installing the AEDs.

The first reading of the bill at city council will be this Thursday.