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AED Cabinets: installation and maintenance

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

An AED cabinet, also known as an automatic external defibrillator cabinet, is used to store defibrillators. Defibrillators are used to save a patient when they are suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. They scan the heart to determine whether a shock is needed and if so, will deliver one. This shock stops the heart from beating so that it can resume at its normal pace naturally.

The success rate of a defibrillator can be as high as 90% if used within the first minute of someone falling ill. Many sudden cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals, therefore, the more defibrillators that are installed around the country the better. However, where do you store an automatic external defibrillator?

What is an AED cabinet?

A defibrillator can either be stored in a case or an AED cabinet. Cabinets not only keep defibrillators safe but, they also make them much easier to locate. Often, they are painted in a bright colour such as yellow or green and, have the medical AED symbol on for easy identification.

There are several different AED cabinets available, all suitable for different environments. Indoor AED cabinets for example, don’t need to protect the defibrillator from harsh weather such as rain and wind so do not require an IP rating. These types of indoor AED cabinets are typically found in schools or offices as they are easily identifiable and have easy access. Indoor AED cabinets can come alarmed or not alarmed.

When it comes to external AED cabinets however, there are typically more options. This is because, if stored outside, the risk of damage or theft is higher. Often dust and waterproof to protect against the elements, external cabinets are more robust to ensure the defibrillator inside remains safe.

There are varying safety and protection levels when it comes to external AED cabinets. With some offering IP66 rating, corrosion and impact resistance and a stainless-steel lock mechanism, they ensure the defibrillator always remains safe. On external cabinets, you will find that they are locked, not allowing access to the defibrillator. In order to access them, you need to call the emergency services who will then ask you for the location code on the AED cabinet, they will then give you a code which will allow you to unlock the cabinet and gain access to the defibrillator. This means that is can always remain safe inside the cabinet and only accessed when necessary.

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

Should a registered AED be available near you the emergency services will give you the details of its location and the access code. Many external AED cabinets are also fitted with lighting inside so they are easy to identify when it is dark or foggy outside. LED lighting is often found on the number pad and lock so you can quick get inside. Being outside obviously leaves the cabinet open to the elements so, some cabinets also come built with an inbuilt thermostat to maintain the correct environment inside and prevent moisture damage. It is important to protect defibrillators from vandalism, natural damage and theft as they are costly pieces of medical equipment that can make the difference between life and death when in an emergency. If damage, it is possible that the defibrillator may not work or be faulty, meaning the opportunity to deliver lifesaving care is missed. You can find defibrillators in many locations including schools, sports facilities, offices, supermarkets, your local town or village and airports. There is a national database, The Circuit, which locates all the public access defibrillators (PADs) in the UK so you can see where you closest located defibrillator is. Alternatively, next time you are on your way to the shops, at work or in your village, make a note of where you see a defibrillator stored, it could save a life.

Installing an AED cabinet

To begin installing your AED cabinet:

  1. Measure from the floor up and choose your desired height, which should between 1 and 1.35 metres from the bottom of the cabinet.

  2. Drill your first hole and insert the wall plug and temporarily insert a bolt into the top right-hand hole. Tighten slightly to help support the weight of the cabinet while you then mark out the other holes.

  3. Place your Spirit level on the top of the cabinet and move it until it is perfectly level, and then mark the other three drilling positions through the holes in the back of the cabinet.

  4. Remove the first bolt from the cabinet, and take the cabinet down, carefully placing it on the floor.

  5. The next step is to drill the remaining three holes. These need to go into a depth long enough to take the entire bolt included in the fixing pack.

  6. For the next part, you will need somebody to help you. After you have drilled and cleaned all of the four holes, insert the wall plugs tapping them in gently with a hammer until they are flush with the wall.

  7. You will then need an assistant to hold the cabinet and offer it to the holes you have drilled. Take your bolts and insert them first through the steel washer, and then through the small nylon washer, and put them through the holes in the back of the cabinet and then into the wall plugs that are in a place where you have previously drilled your holes. We recommend the use of large spaces if you are mounting your cabinet on an uneven surface.

  8. Once all four bolts are in place you can begin to tighten them. Do not tighten any bolt all the way. Go around in a clockwise motion doing four or five turns in each bolt until the cabinet is securely fastened to the wall. Do not over tighten these bolts as this can bend the cabinet out of shape and cause problems when closing the door.

  9. After you have drilled and plugged the four holes, you will need to decide where your electrical supply is going to enter the cabinet. Although the unit comes fitted with the plug, we do recommend it is hardwired. The entry point for the electrical supply is guided through the gland at the bottom of the cabinet. On no account are you to drill further holes in the cabinet to try to allow easier access for electricity. This will void the warranty and also lead to water ingress.

After installing your AED cabinet and connecting it to the electrical supply, tighten the gland at the bottom. This produces a watertight seal around the cable. When the power supply is connected, the heater will not automatically turn on unless the temperature drops below eight degrees, it has been tested in the factory before dispatch.

If your cabinet comes with a magnetic light, insert the batteries. Then connect the magnetic light to the inner front of the cabinet. This light is motion activated meaning it will turn on when the door is opened.

Once the cabinet is operational, for the first four weeks, the door will often be stiff to open and close. This is due to the silicone gasket on the inside of the door which requires a bedding-in period. During this period, you may have to push quite firmly on the door to get it locked. However, do not slam the door.

Maintaining your AED cabinet

Once installed, an AED registered with The Circuit will have an assigned guardian. The guardian should be allocated to keep an eye on the AED cabinet and to undertake general maintenance. This includes keeping the AED cabinet clean and spraying the lock with some form of lubricant is part of the ongoing maintenance. This should be done once every four weeks.

However, if the cabinet is situated near the coast, the lock should be sprayed every two weeks. During these checks, it’s advisable that the door is open, this ensures that the locks are working properly and that the motion detected lights are also coming on. It’s also recommended to clean the outside of the cabinet once a month with a high-quality car wax, this also maintains the high-quality shine and protects the paint finish on the cabinet.

It’s very important that you do not attempt to modify the cabinet in any way as this will void the warranty.

Make sure that the AED Cabinet is well-maintained, this is very important, being able to quickly access an AED is very important for someone who needs it. Even a few seconds could be the difference between the patient surviving or not.

Patients who could require an AED includes those who are unconscious and not breathing, the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) will hopefully shock their heart back into a proper rhythm so it can work effectively again. If the cabinet is not kept in a good state, the AED may become damaged and not work properly.

If you would like tailored advice for your workplace, book training for your business or organisation, or simply have a chat then get in touch with us today.

tel. 0330 223 5586 | email. I complete the form on our homepage

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