Why it is Important to Have a Spare AED Battery and Pads
An AED can more than double someone’s chance of survival, but what happens if the AED doesn’t work? It is a reality that in some instances an AED is nearby but does not have up-to date or unused pads or batteries, and because of this the survival rates are lowered. How do we prevent this? In most cases, the reason an AED may be unusable is because the spare battery or pads have been used and not yet replaced, or because they are expired. Every AED comes with an AED battery and pads, and these have an expiration date. Here is why it is important to have a spare battery and pads for your AED!
AED Battery and Pad Expiry Dates
With the purchase of an AED will also come a specified expiry date. Each AED commonly includes one set of adult SMART pads and one lithium dioxide battery. These items have both an ‘install by’ expiry date, and a shelf life expiry date. That means that if the AED is not used over an extent of time, they will need to be replaced in order for the AED to be useable. One of the biggest reasons an “AED doesn’t work” is because it has been unused for a number of years. Suddenly, when it is needed, the AED battery and pads have expired. Take a look at this situation where an AED could have assisted in an emergency but, due to expired batteries, was unable to:
While deep sea diving, John McNally ran out of air at 18 meters down. He was trying to free a dive line that had become caught, but then soon began to feel that he was tiring and the air was running low. It wasn’t until another diver found John on the seabed without the use of his air tank. An AED was brought but the batteries were expired only 5 days before and the machine failed to work. However, because John had been underwater without access to air and did not get the attention of an AED soon enough, it is unlikely that an AED would have made a difference after this long.
To ensure you do not find yourself in a situation where an AED is not useable due to expired AED batteries or pads, have a backup! Close to your expiry date of the battery and pads, purchase a spare! You should always have at least 2 pads and 2 batteries on hand at all times.
NOTE: For more information on the Philips AED battery expirations, refer to our blog!
When an AED is not maintained and updated, malfunctions can occur. This usually means that the AED will not work and it is left to the first responders or bystanders to continue CPR instead. In some situations, an AED has been unusable because the battery or pads were not replaced. A situation just like this occurred in Canada:
In Winnipeg, Manitoba, at an amusement park an individual suffered a heart attack. But when the AED was brought to assist the individual, the AED malfunctioned, as it had not been properly maintained. Later, experts addressed the incident saying that everyone should “treat their AED’s like they treat their smoke detectors.” In this instance, if the amusement park had kept a spare battery and extra pads nearby, the AED may have been usable.
It is so important that people have access to these life-saving devices, though having one is only half the battle. We also need to ensure that these AEDs are being maintained so that they are 100% ready to use when someone has a heart attack or suffers cardiac arrest.
Take the time to set reminders in your calendar, write down the expiry date of your AED battery and pads, and order in your replacements! It is beneficial to order your replacements a month before the expiry of the old accessory so that you are completely prepared. Then when your expiry date arrives (as noted in your calendar), attend to your AED right away! When it is maintained and accessible, we have the chance to save lives!
Each AED brand has a slightly different type of battery. Know the differences, which ones are easiest to replace, the prices of each, and which ones last longer in our blog!