Posted by David Swedelson, senior partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys
The Los Angeles Times reports that “most fire trucks and ambulances run by the Compton Fire Department have been stripped of defibrillator machines, a crucial lifesaving device that rescuers use to deliver a shock and try to restart the heart of cardiac arrest victims.” “County regulators ordered the department to remove the devices last week after fire officials were unable to produce documentation showing Compton firefighters had been properly trained to use the equipment.”
To read the rest of the Times article, follow this link.
The article quotes the head of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency as saying: “If they aren’t going to follow directions and it’s not going to be a safe use of the equipment then you have to put a stop to the program.”
It is for these very reasons that we have been saying for a long time that it would be a mistake to require that California community associations maintain defibrillators. Most condo and HOA gyms are not staffed. It is likely that no one will remember to service the equipment. Without maintenance and staff who know how to operate the defibrillator, there is no guarantee that the equipment will work when needed. And among other things, this could result in lawsuits that could potentially exceed the association’s insurance coverage.
It is for these reasons that the California legislature has not mandated that community associations maintain defibrillators. If your association maintains a defibrillator, the board needs to consider the factors referenced above. Maybe the cons of having a defibrillator outweigh the benefits.
David Swedelson is a condo lawyer and HOA attorney. He can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.