Frequently asked questions
Have a question about owning or operating an AED? We have answers.
Top Questions From People Who Own AEDs
- Anyone that may look after the device or that works near it.
- This ensures that not only one person is trained to use the AED, but also if an event ever were to occur multiple people are trained and able to assist.
- Generally, all AEDs come with an informational DVD or instruction booklet on how to use the AED. This should be reviewed by all that may use the AED every 6-12 months.
- An AED’s lifespan can vary anywhere from 5-8 years as the electronic components do eventually degrade with time, but some do stay in service longer than others depending on use and type.
- Even if an AED has never been used on a patient in a cardiac event, the components reach an age where its performance may be questionable and, based on extensive testing, manufacturers recommend replacement of AEDs older than 8 years old (generally after the warranty period).
- AED Advantage provides a Trade-In Program for older AEDs that are being taken out of service and replaced with new ones (each model is valued individually, please contact for more information).
- The electrodes (pads) for your AED should be replaced approximately every 2 years.
- The pads are made with a water-based gel, which does eventually dry up over time, so it is important to always have current electrode pads with your AED.
- All AEDs have some variation of a lithium battery pack that must be replaced anywhere from every 2-5 years.
- The battery may need to be replaced more frequently if the AED is used.
- The AED will inform you when the battery needs to be replaced by an indicator tone or light.
- We recommend having the AED wall mounted so that it is visible to the public and accessible in an emergency, along with appropriate signage above or near the AED.
- It is also recommended that if the AED is not wall mounted to have the AED located at a reception desk or non-locked office with the proper signage near or above the area for quick access.
- The AED should be easily accessible so that during an event so that time is not lost attempting to access the room it may be locked in.
- The sooner the AED can be connected to the patient, the sooner the shock can be delivered.
The AED should be clearly marked with signs or door decals so that it can be located quickly by rescuers who may not have had the same training as others.
- Visually checking the AED for an “OK” symbol or a green light indicator to ensure the AED is in rescue ready condition.
- Most AEDs perform their own self diagnostics and will indicate any issues visually or audibly.
- Each AED will require different accessories to be replaced after a rescue event as all will need updated electrodes, but not all will require a new battery.
- These will be specific to each AED depending on the model.
- We offer a wide variety of accessories for many kinds of AEDs (please contact us and we would be glad to assist you in finding the right ones for you).
Top Questions From People Who Are Considering Purchasing AEDs
- AED stands for “Automated External Defibrillator.”
- AEDs are used to deliver lifesaving electroshock therapy to someone who is suffering from cardiac arrest.
- They are designed to be as straight forward and easy to use as possible to allow non-medically trained people the best chance possibly to save a life.
- As per the Heart and Stroke Public Announcements: “If an AED is immediately applied to a victim of cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, the likelihood of survival is high. Survival rates in cardiac rehabilitation programs that provide defibrillation within the first few minutes after a cardiac arrest are higher than 85%. With each passing minute from the time of the arrest, the probability of survival declines about 7% - 10%. Studies show that few patients survive if the time from collapse to defibrillation is greater than 12 minutes.”
- The Saskatoon Heart Safe Program (Public Access Defibrillation) is a community program aimed at providing rapid access to defibrillation in case of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). This is a free service that is available to those that purchase or already have an AED at their location.
- There is no limit to the number of people that an AED can assist.
- Most batteries can produce multiple shocks for multiples rescues, which is why we always recommend having additional pads stocked in/with the AED.
- Having more than one AED at a location ensures that the patient is connected as quickly as possible to the AED.
- As per the Heart and Stroke: “Any location that has 1000 adults over the age of 35 present per day during the normal business hours (7.5 hours/day, 5 days per week, 250 days per year) can expect 1 incident of sudden cardiac arrest every 5 years.”
- Every AED has two pads (called “electrodes”) connected to the machine that must be placed on a patient’s chest.
- The AED will instruct the rescuer through the necessary steps
- The AED then analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm to determine if a shock will be needed to save the patient.
- While SCA is an electrical problem with the heart, a heart attack happens when there is coronary artery blockage.
- While sometimes difficult to tell the difference, a heart attack victim will often maintain consciousness, whereas an SCA victim will most often be unconscious.
- AEDs are designed to be extremely safe to use.
- AEDs will only deliver a shock when the electrodes have been properly attached to a patient and the AED reads that the patient has a specific shockable rhythm.
In Canada, there are Provincial and Federal Good Samaritan Laws stating that as long as the rescuer acted in good faith attempting to save a victim from death they are protected.
- When an AED’s warranty period has come to an end, many will keep the AED in service as they generally are still in working condition at that time.
- However, some locations do prefer to ensure their AEDs are as fresh as can be and have the AEDs traded out for new ones.
- If a location has chosen to keep their AED in service, we do recommend ensuring the monthly checks are done promptly so that no issues arise with its growing age.
- All AEDs have some form of infant/child specific electrodes or settings for a patient under 8 years of age or approximately 55 lbs.
- Even if the AED does not have a set of infant/child pads available, it is advised to use the adult electrodes as any action is better than none.
- The electrodes are placed on the front and back of the child, rather than front and side as depicted on the electrodes, because if the electrodes are too close together than can arc the voltage.
It is safe to use an AED on a pregnant patient. If revived, the pregnant woman should be placed on her left side to improve blood flow to the heart and therefore to the fetus.
Have any other questions?
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