Investing in an automatic defibrillator is certainly a good idea for businesses, local communities and even people’s own homes if there’s someone living there that has a known heart condition. But you shouldn’t assume that just because you’ve purchased one of these devices that your work is done and you can forget about it until it’s required (which hopefully won’t be the case).
Did you know that the batteries in your defibrillator can actually expire? Maintenance is key when it comes to devices like this because they’re so vital for saving lives if someone does suffer a cardiac arrest. It would be awful for something to happen and for you to find that the defibrillator doesn’t work when it’s needed the most, just because you didn’t check that the batteries were still live.
Southern operators Govia Thameslink Railway has just come under fire for having defibrillators at railways stations in some parts of the UK with expired batteries, which has caused understandable concern for some commuters. According to the Shoreham Herald, a defibrillator at Goring railway station was found to have expired batteries in October last year, while another at Shoreham railway station expired in December.
A spokesman from the operator was quoted by the news source as saying: “We are carrying out a check of this and all the existing machines while, at the same time, continuing with the programme we have with the Sussex Heart Charity, of installing new life-saving defibrillators at more than 60 additional stations.”
When it comes to maintenance of your defibrillator, you actually don’t have to do much – which is sure to be welcome news. The shelf life of items like batteries and electrode pads, as well as others such as plastic gloves and airway adjuncts is between three and five years, so you won’t need to replace them that frequently. But carrying out regular checks on the machine may be a good idea regardless so that you can rest assured it is in good working order in case of emergency.
Modern defibrillators can actually perform self-checks themselves and you’ll be alerted if there is a problem with one of your devices. This could be in the form of a warning sign or light on the front of the machine, so make sure you have a process in place for checking it frequently for warnings such as these.
British Heart Foundation research shows that in Europe, approximately one in 1,000 people have sudden cardiac arrests each year, which means there are about 60,000 cases in the UK each year. In England, ambulances attempt resuscitation in about 25,000 cases each year but only a small proportion survive at present. The person in question’s chances of survival drop by between seven and ten per cent for every minute that defibrillation is delayed – so having a working machine nearby is clearly of the utmost importance when it comes to saving lives.
If you’d like to find out more about these devices or training courses, get in touch with us today.