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As detailed in this paper, the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and implementation of a comprehensive emergency action plan are a critical part of providing medical care to intercollegiate athletic programmes,1 as well as to high schools. Despite the lower incidence of sudden cardiac deaths in this group, there is a significant number of other people entering these arenas (spectators, coaches and referees) who are in an age range where such deaths might be prevented by timely use of an AED by a trained or even an untrained responder.2 Hence, it is reasonable to examine the utilisation of AEDs and emergency action plans in high schools, as well as to identify current sources of funding and potential barriers. The main weakness of this study is the low response rate from the Washington high schools surveyed (compared with similar surveys in collegiate institutions). However, this may also speak to the need to educate this population with regard to the necessity and cost‐effectiveness of these initiatives.