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How to support your defibrillator as the temperature drops.
At Defibs.co.uk we are turning on the heating and beginning to think about what Mrs Defibs would like for Christmas this year and thought it's time to update you on what can happen to your defib when the nights are drawing in and temperatures begin to head towards zero.
Not only do cold temperatures increase the likelihood of hypothermia — which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) — but weather extremes may also negatively affect the performance of your Defib.
Defib batteries drain more quickly in colder temperatures and the water-based gel found in some Defib pads may freeze. Defibs that are too cold may also fail to operate, rendering them useless in emergency situations. The way you store your Defib in winter can make a huge difference in your Defib rescue-readiness.
Each Defib manufacturer lists the optimal operating temperature ranges for their devices; typically, 0° to 50°C. To prolong the lifespan and ensure the efficacy of your Defib, your unit should not be stored in a place where temperatures go below freezing or above 50°C.
Many public access Defibs are stored outdoors, for around-the-clock availability. If you have an outdoor public access Defib, be sure to invest in an all-weather cabinet and check the device’s batteries and pads monthly. We have detailed some of the best and the end of this article.
If you keep an Defib in your car or work vehicle, insulated cases may help protect the device from extreme temperatures. You may also want to invest in an extra battery, because cooler temperatures are extra hard on your battery!
Fortunately, most AEDs, like the Cardiac Science G5, for example, perform daily self-checks to ensure that all its essential components are operational.
How components are affected
Defibrillator pads allow your defibrillator to analyse heart rhythms and deliver a life-saving shock if and when they are required. If defib pads are exposed to extreme cold, the gel on the adhesive pads can freeze and will not be able to adhere to your casualty, meaning you will not be able to give a life saving shock to the heart.
Batteries are a main component as they provide your defib with power to function and deliver life-saving treatment. It is essential for making sure your device is ready and able to perform its daily, weekly and monthly self-checks to remain in a fully optimal and working condition. During prolonged cold weather the device's battery will have to work harder to keep the device charged.
If you are storing your defibrillator outdoors during the winter, you should have an outdoor heated cabinet. This protects the defib and adjusts accordingly to ensure your life-saving device is kept at the right temperature and ready to be used in an emergency at all times. It should be mains powered to ensure year-round optimal temperature.
If any of you device components aren't working, the readiness indicator on your defibrillator changes from what you usually see. For some models, you may notice the readiness indicator turned from green to red (cardiac science for example) or change to a cross from a tick for example. In some units; you may also hear a beeping noise to indicate that attention is required.
If you are not sure on what noises or buttons are showing, we are always happy to assist and please contact us if you're not too sure.
Best outdoor cases
Mediana HeartOn A15
The Mediana HeartOn A15 wall cabinet is a highly visible heated cabinet making it suitable for outdoor use. Capable of storing the Mediana HeartOn A15, along with many other popular defibrillators currently available on the market, the cabinet is fitted with a mechanical codelock and remote-controlled alarm to deter theft and vandalism. The waterproof and draught proof design ensures that the AED held within remains protected and the LCD display allows the user to view the current temperature of the cabinet at a glance.
Polycarbonate Outdoor Defibrillator Cabinet
Providing a secure AED storage location for all environments, this cabinet is the first of its type on the market and is supplied with a 10 year limited guarantee as standard. Constructed from a durable polycarbonate and fitted with a removable LED light for ease of use during the darker periods of the day, this cabinet is IP66 rated giving it an exceptional ability to protect the defibrillator within against dust and water ingress whilst remaining fully recyclable. The thermostatically controlled heater built into the cabinet maintains the internal temperature to ensure the defibrillator is stored within its operating temperature range. Fitted with a marine grade keypad lock for additional security.
Price £550 ex VAT
Outdoor Defibrillator Cabinet with Code Lock