Whether your AED (Automated External Defibrillator) was purchased for your home, school, business or any other location, the acquisition of an AED is only half of the battle. It is equally important to ensure that your AED will perform in the event it is called to duty. The only thing more disappointing than not having an AED available in an emergency situation is having one that fails when called upon. This is especially true after considering how simple it can be to maintain an AED and guarantee that it will be fully functional in an emergency. Here's a quick list to make sure your AED will be ready to save a life:
Placement of the AED, though not necessarily a maintenance issue, is obviously an important aspect to consider after acquiring an AED. First and foremost, the AED should be placed in a highly visible area. There should also be a clear and unobstructed path to the AED. The AED should also be placed near a phone so that emergency services can easily be notified. Also, make sure the AED is no more than 48 inches off of the ground to ensure everyone can access it. All known potential users should be made aware of its location.
Check to make sure your
AED batteries are properly installed, fully charged and within their expiration date. Most AED's have an indicator light that tests the remaining power of your batteries and will let you know when it's time to replace them. Always have at least a few sets of backup batteries. You really cannot be too cautious when it comes to AED maintenance.
AED pads are one of the most vital components of the AED system. They will be conducting the electric charge into the chest to restart the heart. Like batteries, pads have expiration dates as well. A gel like substance is used for adhesion to guarantee a strong bond to the skin. This gel can degrade over time. Always make sure you have plenty of AED replacement pads on hand (at least 2), and all pads should be kept in the sealed container they came in until used.
There are a number of supplies that should be kept on hand with your AED. A pocket mask with a one-way valve should be kept to aid with CPR. Examination gloves, absorbent gauze or hand towels, and safety razors in case the victim's chest hair interferes with proper pad adhesion are also necessary supplies. A pair of scissors should also be kept available to cut tight fitting clothing off of the chest or for any other unforeseen reason. Make sure that all of these supplies are readily available. They can be as important as the AED itself.
Overall Integrity of the AED:
Check the AED for any external signs of wear and tear or damage. Ensure all exterior components and sockets are crack-free and fully functional. Make sure there are no signs of corrosion in the battery compartment.
Make sure the instruction manual is readily available in the event someone without much experience attempts to use the AED. Also, require all known potential users to read the manual. Every AED has its own maintenance plan and instructions provided by the manufacturer in the AED's instruction manual. If you misplaced your manual, you can purchase replacement instruction manuals for many AED models
here. Navigate to your brand and model to find out if we offer a manual for your device.
These are just a few of the most important things to remember when developing your AED maintenance plan. These are not the only things necessary to guarantee your AED will work in the event of an emergency, but they are a solid foundation. The need for proper AED maintenance must not be overlooked. The life you save may be your own.
Do you need an AED maintenance checklist?
Click here to download and print one to keep on hand and make sure you have completed all of the proper steps to maintaining your AED.