Today’s question is about:

A community group [that] is considering buying a defibrillator and they wish to know two things.

  1. If they purchase a defib is there a requirement to place the defib on a register so members of the public know there is a defib onsite.
  2. If the defib is used off the school grounds by the public and the defib is broken or malfunctions who is responsible for the repairs?


Question 1:

There is no ‘requirement to place the defib on a register so members of the public know there is a defib onsite’.  Registering is a good idea but a good idea does not necessarily bring legal obligation.   See the links, below, for registers operated by:

Question 2:

If you own something you are responsible for repairs and maintenance.  You can look to others to reimburse the costs if they negligently damage something or where there is a contractual obligation (think of hire cars that make a driver responsible for all sorts of damage even in the absence of negligence).

If someone takes a defibrillator because they need to use it and its broken or malfunctions the owner is responsible for it.

If the person who takes it breaks it, then the owner may be able to ask them to pay for it, but one does have to imagine that would be pretty unreasonable if they took it because it was needed.   Asking someone to pay would not only discourage people from trying to save a life, the claim would also (in most cases) be defeated by relevant state ‘good Samaritan’ legislation (and yes, I know it’s not actually called the Good Samaritan Act in any state or territory, but that is a shorthand or colloquial term for the legislation – you can find the actual legislation here –  ‘good Samaritan’ legislation).

The cost of trying to ask a person who took an AED in order to try to save someone’s life to pay for damage to the AED would far exceed the cost of just buying a new AED.

In short, my answers are:

1) No;

2) The owner.