How to look after your AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)

AEDs need surprisingly little maintenance intervention, but it is important to be aware of the following:

Batteries.

These are generally Lithium and consequently have a very long life. Those supplied in the AEDs sold by Anchor Safety have a lifespan of 4 years, although some others are only around 2 years. It is important to check the use by date on your battery or to consult your manual.

It is essential that the battery can act at full power if the AED has to be used, so it should be replaced if it is coming towards the end of its lifespan or recharged if the charge has dropped or the AED has been used.

Battery charge can drop if the temperatures are particularly cold. Other than ensuring the AED is sited in a sheltered, less cold spot, there are two ways to avoid this:

  1. Invest in a heated, thermostatically controlled cabinet. A thermostat will ensure that the temperature does not drop below 5 degrees Celsius.
  2. If this is not possible then it is worth moving your defibrillator to a warmer site during particularly cold weather. Always put a notice up to say exactly where the AED has been moved to and how to access it if necessary.

Pads.

Pads also have a use by date, usually of around 2 years, which should be shown on their packaging or in your user manual. They should be replaced in advance of this date. Pads cannot be re-used and so should be replaced straight away if the AED is used.

Pads should also be protected from cold temperatures in the same way as batteries: in this case though it is because the gel in them can freeze and render them unusable.

There may be other consumables inside the case such as gloves, face masks, scissors etc and these should also be checked and replaced if necessary.

Testing.

Most AEDs have an inbuilt system which self-tests on a regular basis, so if anything goes wrong such as a poor connection or a low battery the device should signal with a flashing light or audible alert.

Keeping an up-to-date record sheet inside the cabinet of your defibrillator is a useful way of keeping track of when pads and any other consumables need to be replaced as well as information for re-stocking and any useful local contacts.


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