Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable electronic devices that identify and treat cardiac issues. Heart arrhythmias are life-threatening; having access to an operable AED can provide you the opportunity and ability to save a life.


The purchase of this equipment, in and of itself, is a significant investment in the health of those in your community.  That said, some very important steps must be taken in order to ensure that they can help when needed.


AED Best Practices

AEDs are similar to most types of machinery in that there are things you can do to positively impact their use and effectiveness.  Below, we have shared three common recommendations to adopt with regard to your AED.


Visibility is Key

Quite honestly, people cannot use what they cannot see.  So, storing your AED in a closet or out-of-the-way location may render it useless.  Consider the fact that when someone experiences a cardiac issue, the speed of treatment can be the difference between life and death. Having to hunt for your AED takes valuable time; time that you simply may not have.


Additionally, if an AED is not in view of the public (your employers and customers, your family, or your teachers, staff, and students in a school), it may not be known that the equipment is even available for use.


AEDs should be kept in plain sight, in a location that is easily accessible by anyone who may need to use it.  


Keep in mind that sometimes it may be wise to have multiple units, particularly if the area you have purchased it for is large.


It MUST Be Operational

Ensuring that the unit or units you own are operational is critical. That said, you should have them checked regularly (according to the manufacturer’s recommendations).  When you purchase an AED, read the manual carefully and note on your calendar any maintenance timeframes.


It’s so easy to purchase something with the best of intentions but overlook its care.  The importance of making sure your unit is working and ready to be used at a moment’s notice cannot be overstated. If it’s needed, and it doesn’t work, someone could die.


Do You Know How To Use It?

One of the benefits of an AED is that you don’t need to be a medical professional to use it. In fact, it is designed for a “layperson”. The directions, which are easily accessible and with the unit, are direct and simple to understand.


That said, many people are still hesitant to use them. Let’s face it, the entire situation is frightening; someone is facing a life-and-death situation. If you are a business owner, you can offer training to your employees. Simply knowing what to do ahead of time may make your staff more comfortable, and therefore more likely to step in and help, should an emergency occur. AED trainers, equipment that simulates AED use without actually providing a shock, are available on the market today.  These can be invaluable when teaching how to use this very important equipment.


Replacing Your AED

AEDs are designed to last for years. However, as technology continues to evolve, new and better equipment is introduced to the market regularly. For example, many models available today provide visual cues and voice prompts, increasing ease of use.


Additionally, your AED unit runs on batteries and utilizes AED pads. You should check the life of both of these when you purchase your unit so you know when replacement parts are needed.  


Finally, AEDs are sold with warranties. It’s important to keep track of these and recognize that these warranties do expire. This, in and of itself, does not mean you need a new unit. Although, in some areas, an out-of-warranty AED can open you up to liability. 


In all cases, you do want to make sure you can purchase replacement parts and accessories. And, you should regularly check your unit to make sure it is in good condition. Finally, should your unit sustain water damage, you would absolutely need to replace it.


Responsible Ownership is Key

The decision to purchase an AED is a responsible one, it provides you the opportunity to act in an emergency and save lives.  However, the purchase is only the first step in protecting yourself and others. 


Adopting the suggestions shared above and making sure your equipment and its accessories are replaced when needed is a major aspect of your responsibility.  


Finally, appropriately cared for, accessible, and operating AEDs can help save lives when emergencies occur. Make sure you take all of the steps necessary so your AED is ready to be used at moments’ notice.