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Justin

Maintenance of defibrillators

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-       Last year we bought 5 AED defibrillators, 1 for each of our stores. I know I need to replace the batteries and pads but do I need to do anything else to look after these units?

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Check the manufacturer's instructions - you will find most are self testing and do not require servicing as long as they show that they are OK. A log of regular inspections of the status indicators, pad & battery dates and the accessories kit should suffice.

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Defibrillators require very little maintenance as many perform their own automatic self-tests on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and provide a visual or auditory indication should there be a problem with the unit. This is usually in the form of a flashing light or a series of beeps and chirps. We would always recommend referring back to your defibrillator’s user manual to assist with diagnosing the fault.

There are however a number of additional care instructions that we would recommend to ensure your defibrillator is always ready to use in the event of an emergency:

  1. Perform a weekly (or ideally daily) visual inspection to ensure that the device hasn’t been dropped or damaged and the readiness indicator is displaying as ready to use (this indication can differ between manufacturers so refer back to the user manual if you are unsure).
  2. Check the expiry dates on the defibrillator battery/ies and electrode pads to ensure they are still within their usable period. If this is not the case, make it a priority to order replacements and fit them upon arrival.
  3. Replace any other consumable items that are missing or short dated e.g. razor, plastic gloves, anti-bacterial wipes.
  4. Perform a basic cleaning of the defibrillator to ensure that the device is in a usable state should it be needed for an emergency.
  5. Record these inspections in a logbook to ensure any issues are being tracked. Should a fault arise, it will be easy to identify whether the fault has happened before or whether an inspection has been missed.

If the care for your defibrillator is delegated to a particular individual, ensure that a plan is put in place to allow for absence or illness so that the checks are not neglected during this time. For defibrillators in remote areas / unmanned locations or locations where there is no responsible person, it is especially important that alternative arrangements are made to ensure that the device is still functioning correctly. At the very least, we would advise a 6 monthly inspection, however if available, more regular inspections would of course be beneficial. Safelincs also offer a free reminder service for the replacement of batteries and electrode pads which may assist this process – Defibrillator Reminders

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