Defibrillators are emergency medical tools that help save the lives of a victim suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Designed for use by anyone, many have step by step guides and helpful resources to guide a rescuer through emergency care meaning that a paramedic or untrained passerby would be able to use a defibrillator to help save a life.
Although they are designed for easy use, defibrillators are very complex pieces of equipment that must be maintained and looked after in order to ensure they are ready for use at any given moment. Thankfully, many defibrillators carry out self checks to determine that everything is in working order and that if something needs addressing, you will be alerted either via a light on the defibrillator or by a sound.
Defibrillators have a number of features that need to be checked to ensure they are ready for use and compliant, such as electrode pads. Theses can only be used once and need replacing after a single use or if they expire (the expiry date can be found on the outer packaging of the electrode pads).
Similar to electrode pads, batteries have an expiry date. The batteries in a defibrillator provide it with enough power for it to self-test and for use to save a life however, using a defibrillator in an emergency significantly reduces the life remaining in the battery meaning it may need replacing. Luckily, most defibrillators come with a free expiry reminder service so that you should never miss an expiry date on anything relating to your defibrillator.
As well as ensuring your defibrillator is in great working order, is charged and you have the correct electrode pads, making sure your defibrillator is compliant also involves placing it in an appropriate location. SCA’s can occur anywhere at anytime meaning a victim could require urgent care in the supermarket, at work or at the football pitch. With this, placing your defibrillator somewhere that is accessible and easy to retrieve in an emergency is very important.
Defibrillators should ideally be placed somewhere that draws attention to itself such as in a wall mounted cabinet, either indoor or outdoor with appropriate signage around it so that it can be easily seen in an emergency.
If you'd like to know more about defibrillators, why not visit our FAQ page here: