n this blog you’ll learn about AED Maintenance and what to look for! An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a device designed to act as first aid support in case of a sudden case of cardiac arrest or heart attack.
The prompt use of an AED significantly raises the chances of survival. According to an analysis conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 1,700 lives are saved each year by bystanders who use defibrillators while waiting for emergency responders to arrive.
Since AEDs can be crucial instruments in saving human lives, it’s essential that these devices are regularly maintained using standard procedures. Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about AED cleaning, storage, and maintenance.
The Importance of AED Maintenance and What to Look For
AEDs can save lives, but only so long as they function properly. If you never run a maintenance check on a device, you run several risks. For one, if you notice someone collapse and try to use the defibrillator, you might find that it doesn’t work, and you’d be wasting time trying to power it.
Furthermore, if you use a faulty or malfunctioning AED, you may be faced with much more dire outcomes. In these situations, the AED may deliver a larger electrical shock than it should, which can result in serious damage or fatality.
Therefore, maintaining an AED is an obligation that every owner needs to be aware of and embrace. Once someone agrees to own an AED, they also take on responsibilities like proper storage, cleaning, and regular maintenance.
AED Batteries Maintenance
AED batteries expiration date is on average 2-5 years, yet some more sophisticated AED units have batteries that could last up to 7 years. You should regularly check the battery and AED pads expiration dates and replace them in a timely manner.
Still, regardless of the expiration date, it’s impossible to tell exactly how long a battery will be able to power your AED. Thus, whatever sort of device you own, make sure you perform regular battery checks as recommended by the manufacturer.
Proper AED Storage
Defibrillators must be placed in an accessible and visible area so that any bystander can reach them in case of an emergency. However, an AED must also be stored carefully to avoid any damage to the device and keep it functioning properly. Let’s go over several tips for AED storage you should keep in mind.
- Mark the AED Spot
As mentioned the AED must be at a visible place where people can reach it. If you have AED devices in your company, employees must know exactly where they’re located. You can use the onboarding stages with your workers to inform them about the location.
Furthermore, always consider that strangers will pass through the area, and the AED isn’t only for employee use. Even a bystander that’s never been to the establishment may be able to help in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. So, the first aid kit and the defibrillator should be in a well-marked spot where they can easily be found.
Accidents can happen at any moment, so it’s best to ensure everything is always in the correct spot in case of an emergency.
- Place Them in a Case
Since defibrillators are expensive, some people place them in a locker to avoid damaging or destroying the device. In fact, many AED users would prefer to lock them away rather than leave them on display.
However, this habit is not recommended, since in most accidents, or sudden emergency cases, the situation escalates rapidly. In such events, unlocking the AED will take up valuable time and present an unnecessary hurdle.
Therefore, you may put an AED in a case to preserve it from external damage, but avoid locking that case. Additionally, since this places the device out of eyesight, it’s highly recommended to mark the spot with AED indicators so that bystanders and rescuers can easily locate it.
- Choose an All-Time Reachable Location
The perfect location for AED is the one where a person can easily spot, quickly get to, and, most importantly, reach under any and all circumstances.
Usually, special events, like situations where the building is going under construction, are not considered when planning the storage location. This is a big mistake, as the AED should always be within reach. Therefore, when you’re deciding on the AED placement, consider all possible situations, and remember that things can be moved around, but they should never obstruct the AED spot.
- Keep It in Dry Area
Water and electricity must be kept apart for obvious reasons. As defibrillators are devices that provide electrical shocks, it should be self-explanatory why they should be kept in dry areas away from any water supplies.
Water or damp areas surroundings can damage the functions of the defibrillator, rendering it useless and resulting in expensive repairs. Therefore, choose a location that will be away from water or steam.
When you use the AED it must be clean and disinfected to prevent transmission of bacteria or other skin infections. Even if you haven’t used the device before, it can collect dust sitting around in its case for a long time, and keeping it clean is imperative.
Below we present our top tips when it comes to AED cleaning and maintenance.
AED Cleaning Step-by-Step Guide
Before you begin, ensure that your hands are thoroughly washed, and then put on your medical gloves. Take out the AED from the case, and check for any damages.
Once you confirm it’s in good shape, begin disinfecting the defibrillator by using a soft cloth dampened with one of the following solutions:
- 90% isopropyl alcohol;
- Soap and water;
- Chlorine bleach (30 ml/liter water).
Be careful while you clean the device not to let any of the solutions inside the unit. Only wipe down the surface with a damp cloth and don’t immerse any part of it in water. Otherwise, you might damage the features.
After you finish with the cleaning, you must always remove any remaining moisture. Also, remember to check the readiness indicator and ensure it’s showing a green mark.
Once the AED has fully dried, place it back in the case and store it away in its designated spot in a secure and dry area.
Avoid These When Cleaning the Defibrillator
There are some final notes on cleaning the defibrillator, and that is to avoid:
- Using Ketones like acetone, or MEK;
- Using Abrasives on the LCD display;
- Sterilizing the Device.
The recommended time for cleaning the defibrillator is every six months. Therefore, you should turn it into a routine, add it to your schedule, and always know when it’s time to check up on the AED.
The AED Maintenance Checklist
To ensure that your AED is safe to use, you should ensure that you covered all maintenance points in the list below:
- The AED is in a visible, accessible, and unblocked area;
- Keep the records for the AED battery and ensure that it works properly. Replace when needed in a timely manner;
- The service indicator light is green (if it’s red, report to the AED service expert for further instructions);
- Monitor the visual and audio service alarm;
- Regularly check for cracks and other exterior damage to the device;
- Verify that the AED pads are still functional;
- Always consult with the AED manual (the one you receive from the manufacturer since all AEDs have a different design) and check for additional maintenance procedures.
Use this list every six months when the time for an AED inspection arrives. That way you will be certain that your AED is ready to use if it’s ever needed.
Final Say on AED Maintenance: What to Look For
Given the total of 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases in the US, authorities should view the statistics as an alarming public health threat. 9 out of 10 individuals who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital die before an ambulance arrives.
However, these numbers can change, and with more education and access, bystanders can more frequently use AEDs to save thousands of additional lives.
We can conclude that AED is essential in case of emergency. However, for the device to be effective and useful during an accident it has to:
- Work properly: Be plugged in, AED owners run regular maintenance procedures;
- Batteries and electric pads are in function: owners must regularly check the expiration dates;
- AED unit is located in a visible and reachable place: owners must mark the AED location so that everyone can see it and reach it in all circumstances;
- AED device is regularly maintained: owners must follow the checklist to ensure their defibrillator is in order.
Last but least, owning an AED doesn’t make you a considerate or collectively conscious person unless you are also regularly maintaining it. Beyond providing the device, it is also your responsibility to take care of it and ensure it’s ready to be used in an emergency cardiac arrest case. Now you have a better understanding of AED Maintenance and What to Look For.