Over the past decade AED's have become much more readily available to the general public, and if you have taken one of our CPR classes you know that many gyms, dental offices, community centers, churches, and even some supermarkets may have a defibrillator for anyone to use. However, it has always been of great concern to us that many AED's are not checked frequently enough, and we regularly find units in public have expired pads and low batteries.
Most offices DO NOT have a regular maintenance plan for their AED and have not assigned someone to check the unit consistently. A recent security review of a major King County school district found that nearly 40% of their AED's were not ready for use. The national average is above 45% of AED's are not checked and maintained often enough to be assured they will function as needed.
When was the last time anyone in your office checked the AED? - Who's job is it ????
AED"S save lives everyday and there is no reason to be afraid to check if the pads need replacement. YOU CAN DO IT! After all, the machine is there to save your life and has been purchased for EVERYONE'S USE!
Checking AED's is a simple process. The pads have an expiration date clearly labeled on the foil covering. DO NOT OPEN THE FOIL TO LOOK AT THE PADS, THE EXPIRATION DATE IS ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FOIL. Most models require pad replacement every two years. Some more advanced models have longer expiration dates, also clearly labeled on the pads in plain view. Simply open the unit's cover or case and look at the pads.
AED batteries also weaken over time and typically last 4-6 years at most. All AED's have some indicator, either a green flashing light, a green arrow, a battery indicator bar, or similar icon which will tell you the battery is active. When in doubt, simply turning the unit on will tell you if the battery is low. The machine CANNOT shock you unless both pads are actually on a victim of SCA, (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) so it is perfectly acceptable to test the unit by turning it on. AGAIN, DO NOT OPEN THE FOIL ON THE PADS!
Ordering new pads and batteries is a simple process by searching online. We also HIGHLY recommend replacing older AED's (older than 10 years) with a newer unit. Older AED's did not have nearly the same quality or degree of rescue capability as newer models. Some units are also difficult to find current replacement parts, and replacement items may already be past expiration dates. A few older models were also not designed to last more than ten years.
Not sure what to do? Give us a call, we are here to help!
Farley J. Kautz