Having a defibrillator in your workplace can be a great comfort and can safeguard your staff and clients against the terrible tragedies that can occur as a result of a sudden cardiac arrest. In the UK alone, 30,000 sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals, meaning that those unfortunate enough to experience such a catastrophe rely heavily on quick-thinking good Samaritans to be able to carry out CPR and deploy a defibrillator in order to aid their survival.
Whilst CPR can allow oxygen to reach the vital organs and can reduce the risk of organ failure and brain damage, it is not always done effectively by non-medics. A defibrillator is required in order to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. Thankfully, almost anyone can operate a modern defibrillation device and be a lifesaver to a cardiac arrest victim.
Whilst there are many defibrillation devices strategically placed in every community, it is a sad reality that 1 in 5 defibrillation devices will fail to deploy properly, leaving the victim prone to organ failure, brain injury or even death. Every minute is vital in a life or death situation, and defibrillation device failure happens almost always because of a lack of proper maintenance.
Proper maintenance is vital to your defibrillation device staying “rescue ready.” There are simple, straightforward measures that can be taken to avoid the harrowing situation of the defibrillation device not being able to deploy. Below are just some of the simple steps you can take to make sure that you can give a cardiac arrest victim the very best chance of survival through the proper care and maintenance of your defibrillation device.
Ensure the storage conditions are appropriate
A modern automatic or semi-automatic defibrillation device is a complex piece of hardware, however simple it may be to use. The storage area must not be too cold or too hot, and it should be stored in a location that is easy to reach for either an employee or a member of the general public.
There should be no locked doors to contend with in an already stressful situation! The location should also be obvious from a maintenance perspective so that the device doesn’t get forgotten about and so it is regularly checked and maintained.
Regularly check the consumables
Every workplace should have at least one or more designated persons to be responsible for the maintenance of the consumable parts of the defibrillation device. Even without use, the consumable parts will need to be periodically replaced to ensure that they are fully functioning. The designated person should keep a regular log of the shelf life of the electrodes, pads and batteries to ensure that they are usable and that new ones can be ordered in good time.
It might be worth investing in spares in case of deployment. Depending on the device and its make and age, electrodes should last 2-3 years without use and the batteries should last 2-5 years without deployment. Newer models may have reminders built into the software that will remind the person responsible for the device’s maintenance that it is nearly time to replace the consumables.
The person responsible for the defibrillation device’s maintenance should also stay alert for any product recalls on the device, any of its parts and any of its consumables to ensure that it is in optimum functional condition at all times.
Check the defibrillator after deployment, including the software
Following an occasion where the defibrillator has been deployed, it is vital that it is checked over before being returned to the cabinet. While it is being checked, the person responsible should provide clear directions to the next nearest defibrillator in the unfortunate circumstances of it being required again so soon. After every deployment, the electrodes and the batteries will need replacing, which is why it is handy to have spares on site.
The software memory will need to be downloaded so that the memory is not full for future uses. Additionally, it may be worth checking if your ambulance service provider offers a checking service for your defibrillation device, or if this is covered in the warranty of your defibrillation device. Some ambulance service providers may also offer replacement pads after deployment, but this will need to be checked with the provider itself. It may also seem obvious, but a defibrillator needs to be returned to its cabinet as soon as possible.
It can be easy for a defibrillator to be mistakenly tidied away by someone well-meaning, so it is worth having the designated person return the device as a matter of urgency once the necessary checks have taken place. Any downloaded data material may also be useful for monitoring and evaluating uses of the defibrillator to determine best practice, but this will be dependent on your company’s data protection policy. It may be wise to provide a log or checklist within the cabinet to ensure that all the appropriate parts are available in the cabinet as needed.
In summary, all defibrillation devices require maintenance. It may be wise to invest in a service plan, but if this is not available for whatever reason, then it is vital a designated person or persons are nominated to be responsible for the proper maintenance of the defibrillation device. Regularly check it’s environment to ensure that it is safe, visible and accessible, and be sure that all parts of the device including its accessories and consumables are logged to ensure that every part necessary to its function are readily available and working.
A regular log should be kept of when parts need replacing and the batteries checked regularly. It may also be prudent to invest in spare consumables in case the device is deployed more than expected. Be sure that the memory is clear and ready to be used with the most up to date software. Proper maintenance of defibrillation devices is not difficult, but it is easily forgotten so be sure that yours is in good working ‘grab and go’ order.
Call David on +44 7900 087 701, or send an email using the contact form below.