What Is an AED Checklist?
An AED checklist is a document used to ensure that all automated external defibrillators (AED) are fully functional for emergency cases. Automated external defibrillators are portable devices that restore a normal heart rhythm to a person having a cardiac arrest.
A cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart beats irregularly or stops completely. This is different from a heart attack where oxygen can’t reach a certain heart region, causing permanent damage.
Due to its importance in lifesaving procedures, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends having AEDs in all workplaces as part of their medical and first aid kits.
In this article, the following points are explained:
What Are the Main Criteria in an AED Monthly Checklist?
There are 6 main criteria when conducting monthly maintenance for an AED: location, batteries, lights and alarms, physical condition, pads, and tools. The information below is referenced from the American Heart Association and Arizona State’s Department of Health.
During a cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. Every second matters and one of the most time-consuming factors is getting an AED. That is why an AED checklist clearly emphasizes that the device must be in an accessible location, easily visible, and free from any obstructions.
In a guide made by the United Kingdom’s Department of Education, it is recommended to have complete coverage on all locations. It must be no more than a two-minute brisk walk from any location. Also, the guide recommends subjecting it to risk assessments to consider obstacles (like stairs and doors) and hazards (like slipping and falling) while retrieving the AED. Another recommendation is to keep the AED location safe and secure from vandalism and tampering.
An AED fully runs on batteries. So, ensuring that the batteries are good is a key criterion in an AED checklist. This also applies to the spare battery inside the AED pack.
To check if a battery is good and fully functional, the maintenance inspector only needs to observe the automatic prompts and signals coming from the AED. For example, the Philips HeartStart HS1 has an indicator that will beep and a voice prompt that will say: “low battery, insert fresh battery.”
The battery also has an expiration date that needs to be checked during the inspection. If it expires upon checking, immediate replacement is needed. The same goes for the spare batteries.
3. Indicator Lights and Service Alarms
AEDs from reliable companies are capable of self-testing, which makes AED maintenance simple. Self-tests of an AED are usually done by running a complete circuit on the components to check if everything is connected and if the high voltage channels are ready to give shocks.
When the self-test detects a problem, the AED will inform the inspector of its status through indicator lights. Then, a voice prompt will give information on the status of the AED.
There are various prompts that an inspector might receive, below are some of them.
- Low Battery / Replace Battery
- Disconnected Pads / Replace Pads
- Service is Required; Contact Technical Support
- Adjust Storage Temperature
4. Physical Condition
Since AED self-tests can’t discern its own physical condition, it is up to the inspector to check for any issues on the exterior. Look for cracks, chips, and signs of any stress which might affect the integrity of the device which might prevent it from working during emergencies. When signs of physical stress are seen on the AED, it is recommended to contact customer support.
5. Defibrillation Pads
Pads are the component of an AED that is latched on to the person having a cardiac arrest. It serves as a bridge to give off high voltage shocks to restore the heart’s rhythm. Defibrillation pads are stored in a sealed but ready-to-use package and are disposed of once used.
When inspecting the pads, check the expiration date. If the pads are already expired, immediately replace them with new ones. After replacement, don’t forget to update the tag inside the AED kit.
Also, check if there are extra pads inside the AED kit. Depending on the country, government agencies may require two pads inside the kit for adults and children.
6. Response Tool Kit
There are some emergencies that need extra precaution or quick action. That is why there are some tools needed.
For example, a cardiac arrest victim might be wearing tight, durable clothes which need to be quickly removed. Manually removing the clothes is not the best and quickest option. That is why AED kits include clothing shears or razors.
Other useful tools are examination gloves, pocket shields, CPR shields, gauze, hand towels, and antiseptic wipes, which are used to prepare CPR administration.
Other Points for Consideration on AED Maintenance
Below are some key points to consider for AED maintenance. Although not mentioned in the referenced documents, this will still greatly help out in the maintenance routine and AED reliability.
Manufacturer’s Maintenance Instructions
No one knows a product better than the manufacturer. That is why it is recommended to completely read the maintenance instructions included in the AED kit. Crucial maintenance information like ideal storage temperature, cleaning procedures, and disposal procedures can be found in the manual.
Government Approved AED
Since the purpose of doing AED maintenance is to ensure reliability, it is a wise decision to use government-approved AEDs. Government-approved AEDs have passed a strict series of tests to ensure that the device is safe and effective for defibrillation.
An example of this is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which has put up a list of approved AEDs on their site and has put down an order that requires all manufacturers to have their AEDs approved.
So, to be sure, check the local regulations and try to use the recommended AEDs. If there are none, using what the FDA has approved can ensure the device’s reliability.
Use Digital AED Checklist for Safer Inspections
Auditing AEDs at least once a month is an essential matter. If maintenance doesn’t run smoothly, there can be serious consequences. But those who do regular inspections, perhaps of more than one AED, also accumulate a lot of paperwork. It’s a challenge for any company to keep track of it all there and have the documents at their fingertips when they’re needed.
Switching to a digital tool like Lumiform is the right one in this case. With the app and desktop software, inspections and audits can be performed digitally on-site. Then, the information from the AED checklist is stored in a centralized and secure way in the cloud. This gives you access to your inspection results at all times. Plus, if you find an error during your inspection, you can immediately order repairs and other tasks through the app. Switch to digital, and take advantage of the benefits:
- Use ready-made templates from the Lumiform library. Update them in real-time using the form builder.
- Attach photos and comments to your inspection to make the results more descriptive.
- Generate automatic reports from your AED checklist results and send them immediately to responsible team members.
- Assign corrective actions from the app and track their status.
- Analyze your data in the dashboard to identify repetitive errors and defects.
- Document all inspections by saving them to the cloud. That way, you’ll always have a record of your engagement.