How to Check Your AED Is Good-To-Go

06 September 2016

Making sure your AED is tested and ready

by Heart Saver NZ

We already think you're great because you have taken the best step ever by investing in an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). We're not exaggerating when we say this could be a life-saving decision.

We truly hope you never have to use it, but it’s important the AED is ready to go in the event of an emergency.

Even though AED's require very little maintenance, they are medical devices, and it's essential they're checked regularly.

The best way of doing this is to have a checklist to ensure a methodical inspection of your AED.

Here's what we recommend you do weekly:

  • Do a good visual check – does it have any damage? Any missing parts, cracks, chips out of the case or dents? If it has been dropped or signs are pointing to this being the case, it is important you get it checked by a professional company like Heart Saver.
  • Check the status indicator – it should have a "Ready" or "OK" status to indicate it is ready for use.

Here's what we recommend you do every month as part of your regular H&S checks:

  • Check the electrode pads – have they expired? Are they all there? Have they been opened? If this is the case, you'll need new ones, as their adhesiveness may be compromised.

    Please note: pads can only be used once – you will need replacements if you have used your set.
  • Check the battery – has it expired?
  • Check all other equipment such as the wax strip, the carry bag and the cabinet (if you have one) – is it all in working order? Does your cabinet open easily? Do the zips of the bag run smoothly?
  • Is your AED making any noises, such as a chirp? Does it have any weird lights flashing that you're not sure about?

    Don't ignore it – check your user manual to see what this means for your particular model.

Here's what we recommend you do every year as part of your regular H&S checks:

All AED devices should be annually checked to AS/NZ 3551:2012 performance and verification standards, as per the Australian/New Zealand Standards manual, "Management Programs for Medical Equipment".

Page 6 of the manual outlines, "The responsible organisation needs to ensure that safety & performance of the medical equipment is maintained by an effective maintenance scheme with regular assessment, testing and maintenance in accordance with this standard".

Ongoing maintenance of AEDs is important. The scope of the self-test function of an AED varies widely between different makes and models; a rescue-ready indicator is not a guarantee that your AED will shock.

For this reason, Heart Saver offers nationwide live shock testing, conducted on-site by our trained professionals using internationally recognised and industry-leading AED/Defibrillator Analysis equipment and testing procedures. Our annual AED Health Check provides independent verification of the output of the AED, running through a range of physical, functional and electrical tests to confirm it is capable of performing safely and as intended by the manufacturer.

The output is measured to ensure your unit meets the required standards and specifications set down by your AED manufacturer. Upon successful completion of the service, your AED will receive a Test and Tag label and you will receive a test report outlining the performance results of your AED.

If you would like us to perform a yearly AED verification check, please contact us to be put on our routine-check list and we will remind you every year when it is due: info@heartsaver.co.nz.

How else can Heart Saver help?

On average, pads should be replaced every two years (you can buy those here) and batteries every four years, but this can vary by model so please check your user manual. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s replacement guidelines.

To make this AED self-check process simpler, we offer a downloadable checklist of these above points, available from our website on this page.

We also offer Safety Check Tags, which make it easy to see at a glance if your machine has been checked that month and when it's due for its yearly service (you can buy those here).

Need annual AED testing?

We offer an annual AED testing service, for a low cost. It's a great investment to keep your AED in working order, for more info see our AED Testing page.
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