The AED unit is a sophisticated electronic device, even if they don’t always look like it. The AED allows medical treatment to be delivered to the patient from someone with no medical training by:
- Interpreting dozens of heart rhythms and delivering a shock only to specific heart rhythms
- Performing self-tests on its internal circuitry to ensure readiness
- Providing audio and visual cues to the rescuer using the device
- Keeping the information provided to the rescuer simple and clear
All AED units have a status indicator which will show an alert when a problem is found. The
AED’s status indicator is located on the front of the AED and is typically in the top corner of the unit. This indicator displays a visible warning, such as a red “X”, to convey that the AED needs attention. Problems such as a low battery or a failed internal issue require immediate service. This is why it is important for you to conduct regular AED inspections.
The status indicators on all AEDs are designed to let you know at a glance your unit is ready for use or not. This helps make inspections quick.
Common AED Maintenance Concerns:
Depending on the brand of AED unit, batteries can last between 2 to 5 years. The AED unit will alert you when the batteries are in need of replacing, but depending on the model, the exact amount of battery life left can vary. It is recommended to replace the batteries before the AED prompts you so that there is no risk of the AED not working properly in the event of an emergency.
Pads Similar to the batteries, the AED electrode pads can be valid for 2 to 5 years. For the AED to work properly, the AED electrode pads need to be placed firmly against bare skin and must maintain a tight contact with the skin. If the AED pads are older, the adhesive gel on the pads can start to dry out, making them ineffective for use in an emergency.
Some manufactures recommend a second set of pads be stored with the unit at all times, however, having a maintenance plan in place can help save you money as you can be on top of when the pads need to be replaced before something goes wrong.
Here are suggested maintenance tips for your AED equipment and accessories.
- Keep the AED unit away from direct heat sources or extreme cold
- Keep the AED unit dry and clean
- If the AED unit does get dirty, it should be properly cleaned and inspected afterwards
- Keep accessory equipment with the defibrillator and inspect it on a regular basis
Defibrillator Maintenance Inspection
The AED unit should be inspected monthly to ensure readiness in the event of an emergency.
Note: monthly inspections are considered the longest period of time that should elapse before inspection occurs. Biweekly inspections are encouraged.
The most important thing to check on the AED is the status indicator. As mentioned above, the AED is a sophisticated device that does self-tests to ensure it will function properly. That is why the status indicator is your biggest fail-safe.
Batteries can be difficult to test once they are installed in the unit without the proper equipment. This is why documentation is extremely important. Recording when the batteries were installed is extremely important for maintenance purposes.
Unlike the batteries, the AED electrode pads (regardless of the model), will come in a sealed package that has the expiration date labelled on the packaging. This makes it easier to quickly inspect the pad expiration date.
HINT: Replace your batteries at the same time as the electrode pads. This way you can use the expiration date on the pads as a guideline for when the batteries will expire. This is will only give you a rough estimation as the batteries can expire more rapidly if the AED unit has been used or turned on frequently.
The AED does not require calibration by the user in order to work. Simply install the batteries, pads and turn it on. That being said, the AED units can be updated. This update could be to change the language of the audio prompts or to update to new CPR standards and AED protocols. This can be done by the user, but will require special equipment. This is why we recommend signing up for an AED Maintenance Program.
Pulse First Aid offers an AED Maintenance Program in which we would oversee your AED to make sure it always works properly. Here is what is included:
- Yearly onsite inspections of your unit to ensure it is working properly and that all accessories (including batteries and electrode pads).
- Test batteries
- Inspect electrode pads
- Clean the AED (if required)
- Discounted rates on replacement batteries and electrode pads
- AED resources