We all know that AEDs can save lives if used quick enough in an emergency situation and that’s a given. So just imagine if one day a work colleague suddenly has an ‘SCA’ (Serious Cardiac Arrest) and you rush to get the AED and rush back to help your colleague and the damn thing does not work.
But if weekly and monthly checks had been carried out it would have probably worked fine and any faults could have been detected earlier and could have been rectified, hence having AEDs and maintaining them so faults are detected early and failures very rarely happen.
AEDs perform a range of self diagnostic checks on themselves to detect any issues or faults. They check the state of the battery and condition of the battery, it checks the software to ensure everything works as it should, it checks connectivity issues and if all is well it will shut itself down again till the next diagnostic check.
Whichever model of AED you have it will alert you that a self diagnostic check had failed, this could be an audible alarm similar to a smoke alarm when the battery is low, you know that annoying bleep we get in the early hours of the morning. Some will have a flashing light to let you know that the diagnostic check had failed, and some will do both.
Hence AEDs and maintaining them.
So check your AED(s) WEEKLY and document it’s been checked and functioning correctly with no faults, if a fault is detected rectify the fault straight away.
AEDs do regular diagnostics on themselves to ensure all the systems work as they should, so they will power up do the diagnostics and then power back down again into standby mode if no faults are found, and if faults are found it will let you know as mentioned earlier.
Batteries do not last forever and need to be changed every 3 – 5 years and so it is a good idea to have a spare set of batteries and keep them in a safe place at room temperature ready to be used if needed.
If you need to replace the batteries ensure you reset the AED so it knows that new batteries have been fitted, you would be surprised how many people do not reset the AED as per manufacturers instructions and think the batteries are faulty when they are not. We here at Warwickshire First Aid Training get calls once in a while saying that the AED we have supplied is not functioning correctly and when we ask have you pressed the reset button they say NO.
Manufacturers handbook will tell you which batteries are fitted to your AED so you can source replacements.
Electrode pads are single use so when they have been used they cannot be used again so a new set must be installed, they must be in date, they must be sealed in their protective packaging, cables from AED to the electrodes need to be checked and the pads placed correctly in the AED container, if they are damaged then they have to be replaced.
So having a spare set or two of electrode pads in a safe place will keep the AED ready to go.
With your AED you get an accessory pack too which is inside the AED unit, inside you will find a single use safety razor this is used to remove excess body hair where the pads will go, you will also find a set of round nose shears or scissors these are to remove clothing as the pads need to be put on bare skin, if the skin is damp through sweat of water there is a towel to dry the area off before putting the pads on. You will have a CPR face shield so mouth to mouth resuscitation can be administered this also gives you a protective barrier whilst performing mouth to mouth resuscitation.
The accessory pack will need checking and items replaced if the unit has been used
Warranties range from 3 – 5 years depending on the model of AED you have on your site. On the expiry of the warranty, the AED will need to be serviced by the manufacturer and they will have an approved list of service agents and will liaise with you to arrange a visit for servicing of your AED.
You can see why now it is a good idea to regularly check you AEDs and maintaining them so in an emergency they are ready to go and do what they are designed to do.
With every AED we supply we give up to 12 members of staff training on how to use an AED in an emergency, this training takes around 3 hours to deliver and the members of staff get an Ofqual approved qualification and your members of staff get a QNUK Level 3 Award in Responding to Incidents with an AED (RQF) certificate which is valid for a year.
AED training is also included as standard on all work based first aid courses such as Emergency First Aid at Work, First Aid at Work and these qualifications are valid for 3 years and meet UK resuscitation guidelines and HSE guidelines too.
If your AED is checked on a regular basis then it will work when it needs too, and it all comes down to having AEDs and maintaining them and rectifying faults that comes up on the self diagnostics checks.
It is wise to get the AED serviced by the manufacturer or their approved service agents on a regular basis..