Check your AED battery!
You never know when or where a sudden cardiac arrest will strike. Outside of a hospital, a victim’s chances of survival without rapid defibrillation is less than one in ten. That’s why you can find AEDs in more and more places – on transport, in schools, workplaces, sports clubs, tourist locations – anywhere there’s likely to be a large concentration of people.
AEDs are designed to be as simple to use as possible so that anybody can save a life in the event of an emergency. They may be sitting around gathering dust for a while, but you need to be sure that it will be rescue ready in an instant when you need it the most.
It’s not enough to just have an AED on hand. Like any piece of safety equipment, it should be regularly inspected and maintained to make sure that it will be effective whatever the conditions.
The battery is the most common cause of AED failure. It’s this that will provide the vital shock that could make all the difference and its lifespan will reduce with every application. Even if the device is never used, its power will still diminish over time. Always check the number of years and shocks that an AEDs battery will provide.
AED batteries should come with an expiration or use by date that will help you to determine when they need replacing. It’s important to check these dates carefully and have a schedule in place to monitor them.
Medical professionals have a strict care regime to make sure that their equipment is always functioning at its best but, with more and more businesses and communities investing in defibrillators, this level of maintenance can often be overlooked.
Most defibrillators use lithium batteries as they store a lot of energy and last a long time, but they can lose charge when exposed to cold temperatures. The result is that they give the appearance of running flat even if it was at full charge the day before. This power may return once the defibrillator is warm again, but in an emergency, this will be too late.
It’s advisable to store your unit somewhere that’s not exposed to excessively cold temperatures. However, that’s not always possible – it has to be placed where it will be most useful. If this means storing it outside and the temperature drops to below zero, it’s good practice to bring it indoors for several hours after cold nights so that it has the chance to warm up.
It might also be worth investing in an outdoor heated cabinet to keep your unit protected in severe weather conditions.
Managing Multiple AEDs
If you’re a company that has numerous AEDs in many different locations, the issues of maintenance and battery checks can be particularly challenging. Establishing a strict schedule is vital – without this, it can be very easy to lose track.
Transport is an important area for AEDs. Last year, there were over 1.7 billion rail journeys in Britain alone and travelling makes it all the more difficult for emergency services to reach a victim. Confined spaces, crowds of people, time pressures and variable temperatures can also be contributing factors to sudden cardiac arrest. This is why you’ll generally see AEDs in airports, ferries and on train platforms. But, with operators managing multiple locations, keeping all their AEDs up to date and in working order is difficult.
For example, Govia Thameslink Railway who operate nearly 250 stations across South East England, Greater London and East Anglia, was recently criticised for having defibrillators with expired batteries at some of their stations. Thankfully, concerned commuters identified the issue and brought it to the company’s attention before an incident occurred.
All Lifeline AEDs have batteries that will last for either 5 years (125 shocks) or 7 years (300 shocks). Their self-test function also performs automatic testing of battery levels and circuitry to help keep their maintenance as hassle-free as possible.
They’re covered under warranty for 8 years – the only defibrillators on the market to offer a warranty of this length. An AED is a serious investment so you need to make sure you have a unit you can rely on.
Have you checked your AEDs batteries recently?
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