Article posted on February 11, 2023

How to maintain your AED

AEDs should be verified monthly to confirm its presence and functionality. This is a quick visual inspection, which only takes a few minutes. The monthly frequency of inspections is based on AED Manufacturer Guidelines. For more information related to completing inspections, please visit our Helpful Guides page. For specific information related to your particular model of AED, please consult your AED Manual. You can also visit your manufacturer’s website or read our detailed articles by visiting our AED Manufacturer page.

Most AEDs will display a green flashing light, or a checkmark, to indicate that the device is in proper working order. The machine will run periodic self-checks, and if the AED encounters an issue during a self-check, it will most likely begin to beep or chirp. In addition to this, it will likely display a red flashing light or an 'x' to indicate there is a problem.

The machines themselves do typically have a very long life and rarely need to be replaced. Consult your manufacturer’s website to determine how long your AED unit will remain functional. However, the pads and batteries do need to be replaced periodically. The pads are covered in an adhesive gel coating, which can dry out over time. This is why the pads need to remain in a sealed package until they are being used in an emergency. The gel helps the pads stick to the patient’s chest and allow the shock to be transmitted. Typically, pads expire 2-4 years after purchase. Specific expiry date will be printed on the pad package. Heart Safe does send out reminder emails to registered users to notify when expiry dates are approaching. To learn more about pads, please visit our Pad Information page.

AED batteries typically last 4-7 years. Their expiry date is based on the date they are installed, so battery installation dates should be documented. There may be a date listed on the battery itself; however, this is not an expiry date - this is a ‘use-by’ date. All AEDs perform regular self-checks to ensure functionality, and these checks do slowly drain the battery over time, which is why the expiry date is based on the date they were installed.

For more information about using an AED in an emergency, please visit our Helpful Videos and FAQ pages. First Aid training is not required in order to use an AED, although it is recommended to get this training whenever possible. AEDs are designed to be simple and easy to use and should be utilized by the rescuer during medical emergencies whenever indicated.

When needing to replace used or expired pads and batteries, consult the AED Supplier list and visit the websites linked within the Supplier document for pricing and order information. Suppliers can provide you with replacement pads, batteries, and other accessories, such as Responder Kits, Storage Cabinets. and First Aid Kits.

After an AED has been used during an emergency, it will need to be cleaned and maintained. You can consult the After-Use Checklist within the How-To Guides for instructions to follow, as well as consulting the Cleaning Information page.

If you have any questions or concerns that are not covered here, we encourage you to contact your AED Manufacturer, AED Supplier, or reach out to us at PAD@ahs.ca.

Last Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2023


Calgary, Alberta, Canada