Unfortunately, many items available and accessible to the public can be stolen or tampered with, and AEDs are no exception. Despite being a critical life-saving device, some individuals still choose to steal these devices. A careful balance needs to be maintained between protection and availability. A well protected device may be harder to access in an emergency, but an easily accessible AED is more easily stolen. Steps can be taken to deter the illegal removal of these devices.
Your device should be labeled as the property of your organization. The simplest way this can be done is with a permanent marker. Ensure all individual parts are labeled by writing on the device itself, and also writing on the battery and pads package. The writing should not interfere with the operation of the device in any way, so make sure it does not cover serial numbers, expiry dates or essential instructions.
If able, repositioning security cameras to cover the AED and surrounding area is certainly a great option. If there are no cameras present, consider the possibility of relocating the AED and storage case. Remember, the AED should be kept in a highly visible and easily accessible area from which the device can be quickly retrieved during a medical emergency. Placing the AED in a highly visible area can also serve as a theft deterrent.
Alarmed cabinets are highly beneficial in protecting AEDs from theft. These cabinets typically have an alarm, as well as flashing lights, all of which will be set off when the cabinet door is opened. Cabinets should not be locked, as this would impede access during an emergency. There are many advanced types of cases on the market now, which include temperature control, a variety of alarm options, built in cameras and 24/7 alarm company surveillance. Cabinet add-ons may be purchased, such as additional flashing lights that can be placed in a higher, more visible location.
Check your AEDs daily. A full device inspection does not need to be completed daily, but a quick visual inspection should be done frequently. This is simply to verify that the AED is still in place and has not been stolen or tampered with.
Should your AED be stolen or missing, immediately report it to police. Include information such as make/model, serial number, location and approximate time of the theft, and surveillance footage, if available. If your AED is registered with the Heart-Safe database, report the occurrence to our program as well.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss further theft prevention options, please contact the Public Access to Defibrillation Program by emailing PAD@ahs.ca or calling 1-866-786-1440.