AEDs are designed to perform dozens of daily, weekly, and monthly self-tests, and if one of these tests indicates a concern, the device will emit loud beeps to alert you. But because the defibrillator tests for numerous functional issues, it’s not always easy to determine why the device is beeping. In most cases, the issue can easily be resolved with a bit of quick maintenance.
Possible Reasons for Defibrillator Beeping
If your defibrillator beeps every few minutes or every few seconds, it’s trying to warn you that something is wrong or requires your attention. There are five common reasons why this might occur.
This is the most common reason why an AED might beep intermittently. If the battery is low on power or nearing its expiration date, the defibrillator will alert you that replacement is required, thus ensuring that you aren’t caught by surprise in an emergency situation.
The frequency of the chirps will vary depending on the model. For example, the ZOLL AED Plus will beep once every 60 seconds if the battery is close to expiring. The Philips HeartStart OnSite will chirp every 30 seconds.
Expired Electrode Pads
Electrode pads have a relatively short shelf life, usually 2 to 5 years. They’re equipped with a special adhesive gel that dries out over time, and once the gel loses its integrity, it won’t properly adhere to skin in an emergency. That’s why it’s so important to replace your pads before they expire.
Your AED will alert you if the pads are nearing their expiration date, giving you the opportunity to order a replacement set.
If your defibrillator requires a software update, you may receive an alert. If your defibrillator has Wi-Fi connectivity, you should be able to install the necessary update with the click of a button. If you’re unsure of how to install the update, contact the manufacturer.
Disconnected Electrode Pads
Your pads should remain connected to the AED at all times. This allows the defibrillator to perform the necessary tests and ensure that all components are in working order. If the pads are loose or disconnected, you’ll receive an alert.
If there’s an internal circuitry issue that could interfere with the functionality of your device, you’ll usually receive an alert. This may be an electrical issue, a software malfunction, or anything else not related to the general maintenance of the AED.
How Do You Stop an AED Beeping?
To stop the beeping, you’ll need to do a bit of troubleshooting.
First, consider the storage environment. If it’s very hot or freezing, move it to a location with a more neutral temperature. Automated external defibrillators are designed to withstand extreme temperatures over short periods of time, but they should never be stored in such environments. Many internal circuitry issues are the result of improper storage.
Next, examine the defibrillator itself. If it has a visual display, you might see a warning message. Sometimes the message is simple, like “Replace Battery.” Other times, you’ll just see an error code. Refer to your user manual to decipher specific error codes and their fixes. Note that you may need to press a button before you can see the error message. With the Philips FRx and OnSite, for example, you have to press the blue information button.
If the device doesn’t have an LCD display, or if the display is blank, you’ll need to conduct a manual self-test. Consider the Defibtech Lifeline as an example. The Lifeline doesn’t have a visual display, but you can initiate a self-test by pressing and holding the power button. Then, if the device detects a specific problem, it will provide an audible alert like “Replace 9V Battery.”
Many other AEDs have a similar process for initiating a self-test. With the ZOLL AED Plus, for example, you would hold the On/Off button for 5 seconds. In other cases (such as with the Philips FR2), you may need to remove and reinsert the battery to initiate the self-test. Refer to your user manual to determine how to perform a manual test on your own device.
Once you have your diagnosis, the next step is to take the appropriate action, whether that means reconnecting the pads, replacing the battery, or contacting the manufacturer about an internal circuitry problem. Once you resolve the issue, the beeping should stop.
How Do I Turn Off My AED Alarm?
One important question still remains: What happens if you’ve acknowledged the problem but the beeping continues? For example, your AED says that your battery is about to expire, but it will be two weeks before its replacement arrives. Obviously you don’t want to listen to the infernal chirping for two straight weeks.
Still, while some manufacturers advise taking the AED out of service until the necessary maintenance is completed (which is typically done by removing the battery), it is still better to have the AED at the ready than to take the battery out. You never know when an emergency will strike, and unless you have a significant software or circuitry error, your device should still be capable of functioning for the time being, even with the annoying beeps. At AED Leader, we offer prompt delivery because we understand that time is of the essence.
There’s another type of AED alarm that may also be causing you frustration: the AED cabinet alarm. If your cabinet is armed, the alarm will sound as soon as the door is opened. Some cabinet models will go quiet as soon as you close the door, but others require you to insert and turn the provided key. If none of these methods works, the alarm should stop on its own after a minute or two.
How to Prevent Your AED From Beeping
To prevent your AED from beeping in the first place, the key is to stay up to date on your maintenance.
- Keep track of your expiration dates and replace parts as needed.
- Keep your AED in a dry, temperature-controlled location.
- Keep your pads connected to your device.
- Install all new software updates as they become available.
It can be tricky to keep track of all the details, which is why we recommend AED program management. With AED Total Solution, you’ll get expiration reminders, automatic replacement parts, physician oversight, and everything else needed to keep your AED in perfect working order.
The most important thing is to listen to your AED. The beeping isn’t designed to annoy you; it’s designed to ensure that nothing stands in your way if you need to respond to a cardiac emergency. So always heed the beep.