Although automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to be as reliable as possible, they should be inspected at least once every three months and, depending on the circumstances, daily.

Why is Proper AED Maintenance Important?

If a cardiac arrest emergency suddenly occurs in our everyday lives, a well-maintained AED immediately becomes our best friend. On the other hand, a poorly maintained AED that cannot provide the necessary electric shock amid an SCA rescue mission could quickly become the focus of a lethal tragedy.

AED Maintenance Steps

A designated individual or department responsible for physical plant maintenance should follow some basic AED maintenance steps to assess the device’s status and keep the life-saving equipment working properly:

  • Carefully examine the AED’s overall condition. Is the case undamaged and clean? Are PPE supplies, a razor and a tool for cutting/removing jewelry included? Are there signs of damage? Is there a status light that shows that maintenance is required?
  • Press the start button or remove the cover to verify activation (instructions for use will start playing automatically.) Then, turn off the machine and double-check that the status light (green light) shows the unit is recharged and ready for use.
  • Examine the unit for audio alarms or service notices. Alarms can also appear as a flashing red light, an “X” instead of a check mark or a completely blank screen.
  • Check batteries. Outdated AED batteries must be changed to ensure they will not run out before the subsequent use or check-up. Order new ones and get an extra battery to keep on hand in case you need it. Since AEDs are transportable, specialized devices, each has its own proprietary AED battery.
  • Inspect AED pads. Outdated or used AED pads can compromise a rescue if not replaced. For example, they might not provide the data necessary for the AED to identify the absence of a healthy heartbeat. Furthermore, the pads must also properly deliver the defibrillator’s electric shock to the victim’s heart when the AED prompts it. 

Check if the AED pads have reached their expiration date, have been used or show indicators of needing replacement (such as cracking or stressed wiring). For frequent users, like EMT crews, it is required to replace or reorder a backup set of pads.

A maintenance designee should perform routine AED inspections according to a regular schedule, adhering to manufacturer recommendations and the above basic steps. Each check should be recorded, any repairs or replacements noted and records stored safely in case maintenance documentation is required.

What is the Best Way to Store Your AED?

It is crucial to install an AED cabinet to mount the device to ensure accessibility while protecting your investment from temperature and weather extremes. In addition, if you need to keep an AED safe from damage or theft, put it in an AED wall cabinet in a staff-only area.

Contact NCE today for professional AED cabinets, defibrillator mounts and reliable AED battery replacement options or to learn more about AED maintenance requirements.