AED maintenance requirements vary from state to state, and it’s essential to know what you’re required to do in order to remain compliant when owning one of these medical devices. Cardiac arrest victims’ chances of survival depend on the device functioning properly.
To keep your AEDs emergency-ready and legally compliant, be sure to review the following information about proper AED maintenance carefully.
Prescriptions and Medical Oversight
Almost every AED requires a physician’s prescription. And while one major model (the Philips HeartStart OnSite) can be purchased without a prescription for personal use, the prescription is still required if this lifesaving device is intended for use outside the home.
One reason for the prescription requirement is that AEDs are regulated by the FDA and must meet stringent quality control standards. The other reason why an AED needs a prescription (and medical oversight) is to ensure that the person responsible for its care has been properly trained in AED maintenance requirements and usage protocols.
How to Obtain a Prescription for an AED
Some AED retailers work directly with medical doctors who complete the prescription requirements for each AED sold.
For instance, every applicable device sold by AED Leader comes complete with the necessary prescription when combined with an AED Total Solution subscription.
Having automated external defibrillators available in the community is part of the American Heart Association’s strategy for preventing deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. This means that local emergency medical services (EMS) need to know where AEDs are located.
When your company purchases an AED, the local EMS should be informed of its location and who is in charge of the device. That will enable them to access the AED if an emergency should occur in a public place. In some states, you will be required to register the device through your state or local jurisdiction.
Battery and Electrode Pad Replacement
Each AED comes with a lifespan of approximately two to four years for the pads and two to five years for the battery after the initial battery installation. Allowing the electrode pads or AED battery to expire could result in the device not functioning as it should, which is why we always recommend keeping a backup battery and an extra set of sealed AED pads on hand. You don’t want to be caught with dead batteries when an emergency strikes, and you don’t want to be caught with dried-up pads that can’t scan for a shockable heart rhythm.
When you purchase an automated external defibrillator, the expiration dates should be noted in a centralized system. Reminders should be created 30 and 60 days before these dates to replace the parts that are due to expire. Checking expiration dates regularly should also be part of your company’s AED maintenance schedule.
Automated external defibrillators should be inspected regularly for possible damages and working status. Some states require these routine inspections to be carried out monthly whereas others mandate a quarterly inspection. In either case, an employee needs to be allocated the task of carrying out these checks at your organization. Alternatively, your vendor may be able to inspect the device for an additional fee.
To inspect an AED:
- Ensure that the AED is present and in the proper location.
- Check that the green status indicator light is blinking, or green checkmark is present, ensuring all internal self-tests have been passed successfully.
- See that the AED hasn’t sustained any damages or cracks.
- Check the expiration dates of the pads and battery pack.
- Initial and date the AED inspection record.
AED and CPR Training
Annual AED and CPR training are an essential part of every organization’s AED maintenance requirements. While most models are created with the untrained bystander in mind, being familiar with the model that your company has and how to use it in a cardiac emergency could save valuable time.
In addition to using the AED, cardiopulmonary resuscitation is essential in the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). When the AED instructs the bystander to perform CPR, they must know how to do this correctly to keep the blood circulating throughout the body.
Maintenance Procedures After an Incident
An automated external defibrillator can be used once, and then it needs to be refurbished with a new battery, a new set of pads, and a new first responder kit. After using an AED on a patient, these are the AED maintenance requirements:
- Fill out any applicable reports, including post-event reports often required at the County EMS level.
- Download the EKG data for physician review (check out our map of AED regulations by state to see if physician oversight is a requirement in your state).
- Refurbish the AED with new pads, a first responder kit, and a battery if required.
- Debrief the event with responders to assist with closure, as well as discover ways to improve your response protocols and systems.
AED Program Management Made Easy
If your AED maintenance requirements are complicated given the size and geographical reach of your organization, or if you’d just prefer not to take on the burden of compliance, it’s a good idea to outsource your AED program management to an experienced, professional organization.
At AED Leader, we have pioneered one of the most rigorous AED program management services in the country that caters to several Fortune 500 companies. We also serve large school districts, fitness centers, government buildings, and utility companies. Here are some of the benefits of using our cutting-edge AED program management solution:
- Receive compliance information for every state in which your organization operates.
- Receive automated email reminders about visual inspections and expiration dates.
- Order supplies at discounted rates directly from a link within the expiring supply emails you will receive 60 and 30 days before expiration.
- Receive follow-up communication after a regular inspection date is missed.
- Enjoy close monitoring of the chain of command and assistance with replacing a contact person if needed.
- After using an AED, outsource the post-event paperwork, reporting, and device refurbishing so you have fewer things to worry about.
- Receive a loaner AED in the same model while you wait for your refurbished AED to arrive.
- Coordinate multiple locations with assistance from our back-end developers.
- Ensure that all of your AEDs remain compliant and that your staff is always ready for an emergency.
Visit our AED Program Management page if you’d like to learn more or get started.
AED Maintenance Requirements — A Recap
AED maintenance requirements exist to make sure that AEDs can be located and used effectively in an emergency. In order to make sure they can be used, they need to be in perfect working order and the staff members need to be trained in their use.
As part of a federal initiative to prevent deaths from SCA, many states have issued mandates on the maintenance and use of AEDs:
- The AED must be purchased with a prescription.
- Each AED requires medical oversight.
- Each AED should be registered for EMS purposes.
- AEDs must be kept up to date.
- AEDs must be inspected regularly (monthly or quarterly).
- Staff members need to be trained in CPR and the use of AEDs.
- Reporting and refurbishing are required after use.
- You should always follow all manufacturer guidelines as noted in your user manuals.
When these requirements become difficult to follow—especially for large and/or national companies—AED program management can be outsourced to ensure full compliance with a minimum of fuss. At the end of the day, following proper maintenance procedures means a higher chance of saving a life. And that’s why the AEDs are there.