AED Maintenance: Is Your AED Ready to Save a Life?

Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs) are instrumental in diagnosing and treating heart-related emergencies. In Colorado, the law does not require any employer to have AEDs, but their effectiveness in preventing loss of life makes them something every district should consider owning. State law (HB 99-1293 [1999]) requires that AED systems meet nationally recognized standards, be approved by the department of health, that all employees receive basic CPR and AED training, and that a licensed physician be involved in the installation and placement of the unit.

The law also requires that regular maintenance be a key part of workplace’s AED program. Special districts should have AEDs available along with an emergency action plan describing proper AED usage in coordination with emergency medical service providers. Have written procedures communicated to employees.

Implementing an ongoing maintenance routine for your AED units as indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions is of paramount importance. The inspections can be performed by the a trained member or members of the Safety Committee. Employees in charge of AED maintenance should develop a written checklist, complimentary to the technical specifications and guidelines of the AED unit in use, in order to properly assess the readiness of the AED and the supplies associated with it.

Weekly inspection should be followed by a less frequent, but more thorough regularly scheduled inspection that follows the manufacturer’s recommendations and can be performed by an outside service. The person or committee in charge of the AEDs should also check the manufacturer’s website regularly to get the latest information about recalls, updates and available upgrades.

It is imperative that all the expiration dates of the AED parts and equipment have not passed. Expired components should be replaced immediately.

AED pads should be checked to make sure that they are sealed and ready for use. Pads that are not properly sealed or that are expired need to be replaced without delay. The AED battery should be monitored closely, and fortunately, most AEDs have a display or light that indicates the status of the battery. Most AEDs will also emit both a visual and an audio warning for low battery charge.

Most AEDs have a packet or pouch with related supplies, such as a face mask, towel, scissors, protective gloves, and a razor. All instruments should be present in the pouch and be in proper condition for usage. Replace any instruments that are missing or damaged immediately.

Remember, AEDs are there to save lives. Do not jeopardize the health and well-being of your staff and guests by not properly maintaining your AEDs.

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