HEART MONTH: Taking the Mystery out of AED Maintenance & Properly Caring for your Device

Many people would not be alive today had their workplace not invested in an AED. Even if it is only ever used once, the power of being able to save a life is pretty phenomenal. There is a growing need for AEDs in workplaces & other public places, as they will not only protect the workers, but also the customers & anybody else that is nearby. If your organization has invested in an AED, it does not take long to learn how to properly maintain the device nor is it difficult to do, despite what many people may think. The maintenance required for an AED is very minimal but it is imperative that it is properly maintained throughout its lifetime to ensure it is ready for use when you need it! If your organization is unsure about how to properly maintain your AED, don’t worry, we are here to help you learn!

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Purchasing an AED & implementing a PAD program are necessary components to saving the lives of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims. SCA claims the lives of 40,000 Canadians every year. When nearly 150 people, adults & children alike, suffer from SCA every day, the chances are good that one may occur in your workplace or any other public gathering place. However, having an AED in place that is accessible to the public is not enough if you do not properly maintain your unit & your PAD program. Heart Niagara highly recommends that you complete a monthly inspection of your unit to ensure it is operational & ready for use. We provide groups, businesses, or organizations who own a device with a monthly AED checklist so that they know what to look for when checking over their device & encourage them to record their monthly inspections & keep a folder of information pertaining to their device. Here are some suggested maintenance tips for your AED, to ensure it is always rescue ready:

  • Ensure that the pads are plugged into the connector
  • Check the expiration date & status of the battery. Replace if need be. On average, batteries should be replaced every 5 years. However, be sure to check your user manual as replacement will vary by model.
  • Check the expiration date of the pads & replace if need be. On average, pads expire every 2 years. However, be sure to check your user manual as replacement will vary by model. Note that the pads are for single use only
  • Check that there is a second set of unopened pads & ensure they are not expired. Replace if need be
  • Check the infant key/pads (if applicable)
  • Check the status of the alarm system (arm cabinet, briefly pull door open & alarm should sound)
  • Check that all the components of your fast response kit (i.e. pocket mask, scissors, razor, absorbent towel & vinyl/nitryl gloves) are present & in working order. Note that the contents of this kit are for single use only. Replenish when necessary
  • Check the device over to ensure there is no damage or missing parts
  • Check the status indicator to ensure the AED is ready for use (stand-by mode)
    • If the green “ready” light on the unit is flashing, you can be certain that the AED is ready for use & that it’s passed the self-tests. If the green light is not visible or the light is red, & the unit is emitting a series of chirps, then the AED is not ready for use & requires attention.
    • The AED performs automatic self-tests on a daily basis to ensure that everything is functioning properly. This eliminates the need for manual calibration. Your device will let you know if something is wrong in its internal circuitry, either through its status indicator and/or with an audible series of chirps that will continue to chirp until the error is cleared (refer to the owner’s manual, which provides detailed instructions for responding to each of the following maintenance tasks & several others):
      • Single Chirp – A self-test error has occurred, meaning that there is a problem with the pads (i.e. expired), the battery is low, & so forth. Press the flashing blue “Information” button which will provide verbal guidance to help you identify & correct the situation
      • Triple Chirp – This could mean that a potentially serious problem was detected during self‐test that could prevent your AED from delivering shock therapy in an emergency. Remove the device from service & contact the manufacturer & Heart Niagara immediately to report this. Technical support will be provided. There are no user-serviceable parts within the device, so if repairs are required, it must be returned to the manufacturer
  • Remember to replace your device every 7-10 years

This concludes our heart month series on the value of AEDs. We hope you learned a lot about these devices & were able to see the wonderful impact that they have in our community, as well as their amazing ability to save countless lives! If you want to purchase an AED for your organization, need to replace your batteries, pads, or purchase other equipment, want to train your employees in CPR/AED or First Aid or just want to learn more about AEDs, call us today @905-358-5552 or email info@heartniagara.org. #heartniagara #heartmonth #valueofAED #AED #savinglives

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