AED’s are typically automated and perform self diagnostic checks on themselves. This leads to easy maintenance but an increased risk of the end user not checking up on the device. It is essential that those responsible for the units perform daily, weekly and monthly checks. This hopefully eliminates the worst case scenario of the AED not working properly during the event of a cardiac arrest.

Self Diagnostics

AED’s are typically self diagnostic in nature and will therefore perform a range of checks on themselves. These checks will involve battery life / capacity, software and connectivity issues. Some units sound an alarm when a check has failed, others flash a light and some units do both simultaneously. It is always worth checking the manufacturer handbook to establish what each warning signal means.

Helpful hint - Check the AED each day to see if any warning messages are present. If they are deal with them immediately


One of the worst case scenarios is that the batteries are flat when someone goes to use the AED in the event of an emergency. This risk can be eliminated by keeping a spare set of batteries that could be used when the main units supply run out.

Part of the weekly check of the unit could involve checking that the battery warning light is not on and that the spare set are safe and at room temperature.

Helpful hint - Check the manufacturer handbook to see what type of batteries the AED uses

Electrode Pads

The electrode pads are vital in the monitoring of the hearts rhythm and the delivery of an electrical shock. They will not work if they are out of date, damaged or positioned incorrectly. The responsible user can check that the cables are not damaged and that the pads are still sealed within their packaging.

Part of the monthly check could be to ensure that the electrode pads are in-date and that a spare set is also present in the event of damage.

Helpful hint - You will need a paediatric set of electrode pads when treating children ages 1-8


Typical accessories with the AED include a razor, shear scissors, CPR face shield and a towel. It is good practice to ensure that all of these items are safely in a pouch located with the casing of the AED. Consumables may need to be replaced when the unit has been used in an emergency. 

Helpful hint - Contact the manufacturer via telephone / email if you have any uncertainties over what to do


Never throw the paperwork away that come with the AED device as it will contain information about the warranty period. Warranties can range from 3-5 years and once expired it is good practice to get the AED serviced. Contact the manufacturer to arrange an approved service of the unit.