According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), using an automated external defibrillator (AED) within 3 to 4 minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can increase survival one year after the incident by up to 60%. With the American Heart Foundation listing SCAs as a leading cause of death in the United States, it’s vital that you install an AED program to respond to an SCA emergency and give your workforce the best chance of survival and recovery. If you’ve already installed an AED in your workplace, congratulations, you’re one step ahead!
While there’s no legal requirement to have an AED in the workplace, there is potential liability for having one in place that malfunctions. These devices require ongoing upkeep for those critical moments when your AED program is put to the test and an employee’s life is on the line.
Here’s what you need to know about their inspection and maintenance to keep them in peak condition:
Before getting started...
Regular AED inspection and maintenance is crucial for it to remain a reliable part of your response to an SCA emergency. But before getting started on the nuts and bolts of an inspection, there are a number of things you need to be aware of:
- The core parts of an AED. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), your AED will analyze an SCA victim’s heart rhythm and prompt a user to deliver a defibrillation shock which restores normal rhythm if it detects arrhythmia. The control box comes with a readiness indicator that you’ll check as part of your inspection. If maintained and updated properly, your device can last for approximately 10 years.
- AED accessories. Your AED’s batteries and electrode pads are consumables, with a limited lifespan of between 1 and 5 years. All electrode pads should have an expiration date clearly visible on their packaging, and batteries will either have an “Install By” or expiration date marked on their outside.
- Compliance requirements. It pays to have a solid understanding of your local compliance requirements, in terms of owning and using an AED in the workplace. While the need for medical authorization when purchasing and owning an AED is a federal requirement, individual areas and counties may have passed additional legislation that governs specifics. PlusTracTM has a handy map that lets you review laws per state. Find it here.
How to perform a comprehensive AED inspection
AEDs are fairly robust and require little ongoing care — other than the replacement of expiring consumables, like the electrode pads. With monthly routine inspections to confirm that your AED and its components are in working order, you should be prepared for an SCA emergency. When performing your inspections:
- Have the right tools available. You won’t need mechanical tools to check the readiness of your AED, but there are tools available to help with the legally required administration that accompanies AED ownership and inspection. It is often required by state law to keep a log and maintenance history for your device. While you could use a manual checklist, there are solutions like CheckAED Mobile App available to make your record keeping easy and efficient.
- Check the defibrillator. A basic inspection includes a check of the readiness indicator at the front of the device. You may also want to examine all connecting wires for fraying ends or loose connections, verify the contents of the rescue kit and test the alarmed cabinet in which the unit may be stored.
- Check the batteries. The installed life of your AED’s battery could range from 1 to 5 years. Check the “Install By” or expiration date to confirm whether the battery is viable — these should be clearly marked on the outside of the battery. You could also force your AED to perform a self-test that will alert you if the battery level is low. These do consume battery life, so consult the manufacturer’s guidelines first for best practice on verifying your battery’s status.
- Check the electrode pads. Confirm that your electrode pads have not passed their expiration date, and confirm that they’re still in sealed packaging. Opened pads should never be used or reused, as the adhesive gel dries when exposed. This prevents them from adhering to an SCA victims chest and means they can’t deliver that much-needed electrical shock.
Simplify your AED program management
Ensuring regulatory compliance and a working AED needn’t be daunting. Partnering with an AED management program like PlusTrac™ will help you ensure that your AED is up-to-date and ready to help, 24/7. PlusTrac™ account managers also personally research AED laws that affect your compliance to ensure you meet the minimum requirements of Good Samaritan protection. Register here to start your free PlusTrac™ AED management trial.