It’s easy to look after a defibrillator. Every defibrillator manufacturer will provide a simple guidance booklet on how to do it so it’s a good idea to look at that as there can be minor variation between brands. In the meantime, we have listed the basic steps below to be carried out as a regular check:  

  • Defibrillators perform regular self-checks, so if everything is ok it will be indicated on a small LED screen, or by a green light on the front of the device. This is usually obvious on all models sold in the UK but check the handbook from the manufacturer if you are not sure. Check the rest of the defibrillator for any obvious signs of damage or use since you last checked it.  
  • Check to see if the items that are usually stored with it are still there such as a safety razor, scissors, and a face shield for use during CPR. 
  • Check the expiry date on the sticky pads. It they are out of date, replace them. You will probably have to open the defibrillator case to do this. When you open the case, the defibrillator may switch on automatically and begin to give instructions – this is normal and can be ignored when you are just carrying out a check. Once you close the case the defibrillator will switch off automatically. Avoid turning on the defibrillator needlessly as this can reduce the battery life. You can now return the defibrillator to where it is normally kept. 

Checking in on your defibrillator

Regular checks will ensure that you are aware of when the electrode pads expire, whether your defibrillator has been used or if it has a fault, for example, the battery is approaching the end of its life. Therefore, it’s important to have a routine in place for checking your defibrillator.   

If you register your defibrillator on The Circuit you will receive regular reminders to record your checks and notification of when the electrode pads are about to expire. It only takes a few minutes to update your record. If you haven’t registered your defibrillator on The Circuit already, you can register your defibrillator now.  

For more detailed information on looking after a defibrillator you can read this document  ‘A guide to automated external defibrillators’ produced by the Resuscitation Council UK. 

What do I do once a defibrillator has been used?

If the defibrillator you look after has been used in an emergency, it’s easy to get it ready for use for another emergency by following these simple steps: 

  • Wipe the defibrillator and case over thoroughly with an antibacterial cleansing wipe. 
  • Once it’s clean, check there is no obvious damage and see if the battery/self-test indicator is still showing OK as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If the battery needs to be replaced, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Then check if any of the disposable items, such as the sticky pads or razor are missing or if they appear to have been used. If so, dispose of them safely and replace with new ones.   
  • Your defibrillator is now ready for use during another emergency and can be returned to where it’s normally kept. 

Have you registered your defibrillator?

The Circuit – the national defibrillator network, connects defibrillators to NHS ambulance services across the UK so that in those crucial moments after a cardiac arrest, they can be accessed quickly to help save lives.

If your defibrillator has been registered on The Circuit, you will receive an automated email if the ambulance service has sent someone to fetch it during an emergency. This saves the ambulance service from having to contact you directly and increases the speed at which you will be informed about it. If you haven’t registered your defibrillator on The Circuit already, you can register it here now

Some iPAD SP1 and iPAD SP1 AUTO defibrillators are being recalled by the manufacturer. If you’re the owner or guardian of a defibrillator, check if yours is affected as soon as possible.