Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Maintenance
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have saved the lives of many people who suffered heart attacks at church. Most of the time, however, they sit idle. It’s important for someone to regularly check your ministry's defibrillators, so they're ready to go when minutes matter.
AEDs Require Maintenance
- Inventory and reorder supplies
- Follow up with the manufacturer on maintenance issues
- Schedule training and retraining
While specific requirements vary by manufacturer, here are some basic procedures for an inspection that can keep your AED ready to respond in a heartbeat.
- Visually inspect your AED. Look for dirt, damage, or contamination.
- Inspect electrodes. All electrodes (sticky pads) should be unexpired and in their original, sealed packages. It's good to have at least two sets for adults and one set for children.
- Test primary battery. Some models feature a “test” button. On models without one, push the “on” button. If the unit prompts you to attach the electrodes, the battery’s working properly.
- Test backup battery. Make sure a backup battery is stored with the AED. This is crucial, because defibrillation can deplete the primary battery. Test the secondary battery by removing the primary battery and following the same process as you did with the first one.
- Keep it charged. Keeping an AED plugged into the wall when it’s not being used helps keep the primary battery from losing its charge over time. It’s especially important for devices that sit idle for long periods.
- Check data card. Some models record information about the cardiac arrest on a removable computer data card. Make sure a functioning card is installed.
- Stock secondary supplies. Some items that are helpful to stock in your AED kit include alcohol prep pads, razors, gloves, scissors, and a small towel or cloth. Electrodes require a good connection to function, so you may need to clean the person’s skin or trim thick chest hair.