The automated external defibrillator (AED) has been described as the single most important development in the treatment of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). These devices are now widely available and increasingly used by people, often with little or no training, to re-start the heart of a victim of SCA. Their increasing presence in workplaces is brilliant news for victims. To ensure the AED remains ready for an emergency, proper maintenance is required. The good news though, is the amount of maintenance they require is minimal.
There are some consumables which are likely to require replacement over time, particularly when they expire. This could include batteries, electrode pads and other consumables such as razors, gloves or pocket mask). However, this is an infrequent task as the typical shelf life of these items is 3-5 years.
In addition to replacing consumables, it is important to give the AED a regular check. The AEDs available on the market, all perform regular self-checks, so it will let you know if there is a problem (a light may flash or it may beep intermittently, but check the instructions to find out how your AED alerts you to a problem). You will need to have a process in place for the AED to be checked frequently. A daily check is best practice, and remember to put in contingency plans in place to cover absences such as sickness or holidays. Your check should include as a minimum:
- Is the AED in a visible and unobstructed location, known to all staff?
- Confirm all consumables are present, in date and full working order, including 2 sets of pads
- AED in a state of readiness (normally indicated by a “ready light”)?
- Note the absence of a service light or audible warning
Always remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance requirements for the model you have. If you are in doubt about the maintenance required for an AED, please get in touch with us in the office and we can advise you appropriately
Written by Sophie McCracken 10th August 2017