Published on 1st December 2021
The chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest are less than 10%. If you’ve been looking into renting or buying an AED you’ll have seen that statistic a lot and it’s a stark figure isn’t it?
Especially if you flip it around to say that the chance of NOT surviving a sudden cardiac arrest is higher than 90%. We’re not trying to be hard-hitting – but it’s definitely a statistic we’re actively trying to reduce because it can change drastically as we educate more people on combating the high mortality rate of sudden cardiac arrest.
Providing access to a defibrillator increases the survival rate of people you’re responsible for on your premises from 10% to 74%. The good news is, that as well as being such lifesavers, they are also extremely low maintenance – but that mustn’t be confused with no maintenance.
We know that if you have premises where multiple people are present, you’re already navigating a host of red tape on keeping that area safe and hazard-free. We also know that you’ll be nose deep in organising your weekly schedules and managing the needs of keeping the premises warm and well-kept amongst many other things.
So maintaining the life-saving AED on your premises isn’t going to be front of mind on most days. By putting a simple six-step maintenance plan in place, you can make sure your AED is in optimal condition whenever you need it – the last thing you need in those first few critical minutes is to be running neglected checks on a life-saving device:
Despite this process taking less time than a coffee break, don’t underestimate the importance of every step. Each one is necessary to ensure the very best conditions for your AED to work within, so it is important that your staff are informed to complete all six steps.
Located in the upper corner of the AED, the Active Status Indicator (ASI) indicates how ready to operate the device is. It periodically flashes green to show that it is in a fully functional state.
If the ASI is flashing red instead of green, you will need to turn the unit on which will activate a voice prompt indicating the nature of the problem.
If the indicator is not flashing at all, the most common reason for this is that the battery needs to be replaced. Despite having extremely long lifespans, batteries do run out without us noticing hence the importance of these checks. Upon replacing the battery, you should then find that the ASI will start flashing green again. If a fresh battery does not fix this problem, there is a chance that the battery pack is defective and the battery pack should be replaced.
The defibrillators are hardy and durable, but you will still need to check their condition as part of your checks. Depending on how often the defibrillator is used, dirt and contamination can build up, particularly in the connector socket and around the opening to the battery pack.
Visually inspect the unit for signs of damage or cracks on the case, paying attention to the connector socket and connection joints. If visible signs of damage are present, remove the AED from operation and contact the AED service team.
Defibrillation pads have a ‘Use Before’ date which can be found on the label within their package. They should never be used past their expiration date or if the pads package has been torn or damaged. Defibrillation pad packages should also not be opened until they are ready to use.
Inspect the pads and cable carefully making sure the connector end of the defibrillation cable is inserted into the pads connector port properly – this can be found on the corner of the AED.
Replace the pad package if any broken cables, nicks, cuts, or are found or if the pads have been opened or have expired.
On the right side of the battery pack is a white label which is where you’ll find the expiration date of the battery pack. The AED has a self-test function that checks the battery status regularly and indicates the battery levels, but it is crucial that you replace expired battery packs.
The Lifeline Battery Packs are extremely easy to install and also come with a separate 9v lithium battery which powers the defibrillator’s self-test feature and active status indicator.
If your AED device has a Data Card, the first thing to do is to make sure it is installed. To access the data card, you will need to remove the battery pack first. Press the battery pack eject button which is located on the side of the unit. You will find the data card is positioned inside a slot located directly above the battery pack opening.
You can remove the data card by pressing it all the way in, and then releasing it. This will partially eject the card ready for you to pull it out to remove it completely.
To install a new Lifeline Data Card, insert the card into the thin slot above the battery pack opening with the label side up. The data card should then click into place, completely flush with the surface of the slot. The data card needs replacing every time the AED is used
There is no use performing your checks regularly, if it isn’t recorded in a way that people can see instantly that the AED is safe to use when they need it. This is the purpose of the inspection tags. They are a recorded history of previous inspections to provide a snapshot status of the maintenance checks as well as the expiry dates of defibrillator pads and batteries.
Once your check has been completed, ensure you record this on the inspection tag. When you remember that these defibrillators are designed for a complete novice, child or bystander to use without previous experience or training, it highlights the importance of keeping the inspection tag up to date to verify the safety of the device in emergencies.
A designated person needs to be responsible for carrying out monthly AED maintenance checks and logging them as well as being the allocated person to follow up on any chirping or warning notifications that the device instigates. The regular checks are important in their own right, but regular maintenance also allows plenty of time to replace any required parts or contact your AED Service Team if you have any questions regarding your device.
Besides the above steps, applying common sense checks such as the unit being plugged in and powered properly, and the pads being powered too will ensure the defibrillator is always ready for instant use when needed.
If you are looking to rent or purchase an automated external defibrillator for your offices, schools or premises, we have a range of devices and packages designed to make this provision as easy as possible for you.
One factor to consider is who will be most likely to use the device – quite often it is somebody who has never used one before. Defibtech’s Lifeline AED are the simplest AEDs to use and have been designed by physicians so that absolutely anyone can save a life with them. In a study by the University of Illinois involving 5 market-leading AEDs, participants were able to deliver a defibrillation shock with the Lifeline AED quicker and more successfully than with any of the other AEDs tested.
They are also designed specifically to be low maintenance, for instance the high capacity Lifeline Defibrillator Battery has an approximate shelf life of 6.5 to 7 years and is capable of performing 300 defibrillator shocks or 16 hours of continuous operation.
In a world where everybody’s roles are increasingly busy, these features alongside simple maintenance checks can often be the difference between the 10% and 70% survival rate we mentioned.
Get in touch with our team if you’d like to know more about providing AED’s on your premises.