AEDs are generally designed to be low maintenance and robust. These life saving machines can operate on standard batteries, in extremes of temperature and run for years without needing to be serviced. The end user however should never become complacent when it comes to using the machine, and should know the troubleshooting issues that may arise.

Electrode Pads

The electrode pads measure the heart's rhythm and where necessary deliver an electrical shock through the pads. It is vital that they are positioned correctly and in good working order. They have a shelf life and when expired may have dried out, potentially rendering them useless. Use the below checklist to ensure there are no problems when using the pads:

  1. Always check that the pads are not out of date
  2. Check they are positioned correctly and follow the diagrams if not
  3. Check the cables are intact and not broken
  4. Wipe the chest with a towel to remove moisture when wet
  5. Shave the chest if hair is excessive and there is a warning message

Battery Life

The AED will have a warning light / sound when the batteries are low. It is imperative to never be in a situation when the machine cannot be used because the batteries are flat. This can be avoided by having a spare set of batteries at all times. 

In an emergency the worst case scenario is that the batteries run out. If this happens send a bystander to fetch the replacement batteries and quickly change them over on their return. Keep calm and carry on with administering first aid.

Helpful hint - By carrying out a daily check of the machine you will be ahead of any such problems

Electrical Interference

Occasionally the machine may not be able to function when there is electrical interference nearby. This could interrupt the analysis of the heart's rhythm and even any potential electrical shocks.

If the machine states there is interference or interruption then consider moving objects like modems, mobile phones, and remote key systems away from the casualty. If this is not possible then move the casualty away from the suspected source of interference.

Remember - Only worry about electrical interference when the machine displays a warning message

Extremes in Temperature

The robustness of AEDs means they can be used in extreme of temperatures typically ranging from 0 - 50 degrees celsius. When used outside of this range they may fail to analyze and perform shocks.

When working in extremes consider either keeping the AED unit within a heated or air conditioned room depending on the environment. It may still be advisable to research and purchase an AED that can cope with the environment that it will be used in.