The Early Show Medical Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay explains how the life-saving device works and why it's popping up all over America in public places such as airports, offices, shopping malls and, now, schools.
When the heart stops, the best way to respond is to immediately call 911, give CPR and grab an Automated External Defibrillator to help shock the heart back to life. It's emergency training that kids are getting as part of curriculum in some schools.
Kittatinny Regional High School in New Jersey is prepared for the worst.
"It could happen to anybody, warning signs or no warning signs," says student Christine Harriott.
Students at Kittatinny Regional High School are trained to respond in a health emergency, including the use of an AED to give a jolt of electricity that can get the heart beating again.
"Once you get the AED on, it walks you through the steps and helps you get it done," says student Leah Hansen. "I feel it's very easy to use. It pretty much tells you everything to do. It's just a matter of getting to it as soon as possible."
A quick response with an AED saved Andrea LaFleur's life. She was just 16 years old when she collapsed in the classroom from cardiac arrest.
"If the defibrillator hadn't been there, I probably wouldn't be here because the paramedics were about 15 to 20 minutes away."
A defibrillator is kept close by at athletic events, where the chances of cardiac arrest are higher. The American Heart Association now recommends emergency preparedness for every school.
"[Schools] need to be kind of ready for anything, it's almost a community center when you start looking at it," says American Heart Association's Ron-Dee Lockwood.
LaFleur says, "It's very important to have AEDs in every public place. It saved my life, it could save yours.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is also recommending school defibrillators. Senay says children trained in using AEDs are going to be the ones who have the skills in life to use the life saving tools wherever they may be located.
According to the American Heart Association, on any day, as much as 20 percent of the U.S. adult and child population can be found in schools, so cardiac events are bound to occur from time to time.
There are quite a few different AED models on the market, and the cost is lowering. Currently, they range from about $1,500 to $2,500. And, they really are very easy to use. Just turn it on and it talks you through the process.
The adult AED pads are not recommended for children under eight years of age or 55 pounds. There are special pediatric pads that deliver a lesser charge for kids aged one year to eight years old.