Winter brings unique challenges for storing AEDs. With cold temperatures, snow, and ice, it’s important to consider how these conditions can affect AED functionality. On the warmer side of things, summer also doesn’t bode well for AEDs that aren’t protected from the excessive summer sun and heat.
Today, we’ll be addressing the question ‘Can AEDs be stored outside?’ and look at the best practices for keeping AEDs accessible and operational in outdoor settings.
So, Can AEDs Be Stored Outside?
Yes! AEDs can absolutely be stored outdoors, and doing so has significant benefits, particularly in terms of public accessibility and emergency response effectiveness.
Feasibility of Outdoor Storage
Modern AEDs, such as the Philips FRx Series, are designed with durability in mind, allowing them to be stored in various environments, including outdoors. Some manufacturers provide robust, weather-resistant cases and cabinets specifically designed for outdoor use. These storage solutions protect the AED from the elements and maintain its functionality.
Importance of Public Accessibility
The primary advantage of storing AEDs outside is increased public accessibility. In Canada, it’s estimated that 35,000 cardiac arrests occur each year, with nearly 80% of them happening at home or in a public place. Outdoor storage ensures that these life-saving devices are within quick reach in public settings, such as parks, sports fields, and outside buildings with restricted access during off-hours.
Enhancing Emergency Response
Outdoor AEDs also enhance the overall emergency response system in a community. They complement the efforts of first responders by providing immediate assistance during the critical first minutes of a cardiac emergency. This is particularly crucial in areas where medical response times might be longer due to distance or traffic.
Europe is miles ahead in their accessibility to AEDs in public spaces, having transformed old phone booths to AED stations and other innovative cases.
Challenges of Outdoor Storage
While storing AEDs outside is indeed possible, it’s not without its challenges. Understanding these challenges is key to ensuring that AEDs remain functional and accessible.
One of the primary concerns with outdoor storage is the exposure of AEDs to extreme temperatures. The operating temperature for AEDs (Philips models included) is typically in the range of 0 – 50 degrees Celsius (32 – 122 Fahrenheit). Both the cold and hot temperatures of the seasons can:
- Reduce battery life
- Damage electrode pads and gel
- Damage electronic components
Vandalism & Theft
Anything stored outside is at a higher risk of being tampered with or stolen. This not only reduces the availability of these devices in emergencies but can also lead to additional costs for replacement or repair.
While outdoor storage increases accessibility, it can also lead to accessibility issues if not properly managed. For instance, snow or ice accumulation can block access to the AED cabinet, delaying its use in an emergency.
Outdoor Storage Solutions for AEDs
Making sure that your AED can effectively combat environmental challenges requires implementing specific solutions. Here at First Edition, we have many options to help you safely store your AED outdoors all year long.
Specialized Outdoor Cabinets
One of the most effective solutions for outdoor AED storage is the use of specialized outdoor cabinets. These are designed to withstand environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations, moisture, and direct sunlight. They typically feature weatherproof seals, insulation, and durable construction materials to protect the AED from the elements.
Outdoor cabinets should also be secure to prevent vandalism and theft. This includes lockable cabinets that are robust and tamper-proof. Some models, like our outdoor alarmed/strobe light AED cabinet, even include alarm systems that alert nearby people when the cabinet is accessed, serving both as a theft deterrent and an emergency notifier.
Regular Maintenance & Monitoring
Regular checks are vital for AEDs, especially for ones stored outdoors. This includes ensuring the cabinet’s integrity, checking battery life, and verifying the readiness of the AED itself. Maintenance schedules should be strictly adhered to to make certain that the AED is always ready for use.
By incorporating these solutions, organizations and communities can effectively store AEDs outdoors and keep them protected from environmental threats.
The answer to the question ‘Can AEDs be stored outside?’ is a resounding yes, but with careful consideration and proper implementation of specific measures. Specialized outdoor cabinets are key to ensuring that AEDs remain functional and accessible in outdoor environments.These solutions not only protect the AEDs but also enhance their accessibility to the public.
The importance of having AEDs readily available in public spaces cannot be overlooked. By increasing the availability of AEDs, we can collectively improve emergency response capabilities and save lives.