At least 1000 defibrillators in Ireland (10% of the country’s AEDs deployed in public places) urgently need to complete an important software update throughout hotels, sports venues and other businesses according to a recent article in the IrishTimes. The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is urging all owners of automated external to defibrillators (AEDs) to check the status of every device to ensure readiness in case of emergency. Non-efficient AED maintenance in Ireland is likely to be similar in the United States as well.
Having a defibrillator available for use in a cardiac emergency is a fantastic first step in combating sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that kills almost 400,000 people annually in the U.S. However, AEDs are not a “set it and forget it” type of device. These Class III medical devices are used to send a life-saving electrical shock to disrupt fatal heart rhythms. Unfortunately, many devices are not properly maintained and whenever called upon, may fail to work and result in death and possible liability for the AED owner.
AEDs need to be inspected monthly for the following: current pads (or electrodes) and working battery, device functionality and updated software. Defibrillator pads have a water-based gel which attaches to the victim’s chest for analyzing the heart rhythm and delivering an electrical shock if necessary. Overtime, the gel dries up and may not work effectively. For this reason, pads have expiration dates and should be replaced on time.
One major reason for potential AED failure is due to a dead battery. If the battery doesn’t work, the device will not turn on and cannot save lives. Battery replacement depends upon the specific type of AED model so you should consult manufacturer guidelines. Along with the visible accessories, software should be updated according to the manufacturer’s latest updates to ensure proper function.
For some organizations who only have 1 or 2 AEDs, managing the device(s) may be fairly simple. In facilities that have multiple AEDs, do not have a dedicated AED Manager or have turnover of this responsibility, device care may fall through the cracks.
To help simplify the management process and provide support to guarantee legal compliance with all laws, many organizations take advantage of professional AED Program Management. Through our RescueTrac Program Management, you can have peace of mind that your AED will always be ready and you will be alerted to any new legal regulations or notices affecting your device.
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