From first responders' vehicles to public building walls, defibrillators (AED) across the UK stand ready to answer life's most urgent call. But as temperatures plummet, their readiness hangs in the balance. Whether you're a community guardian or a first responder entrusted with this life-saving device, it's time to step up and shield them from the winter's icy grip.
Impact on Batteries: Cold temperatures can significantly impact the life and performance of defibrillator batteries. They drain faster in the cold, meaning the device might not have enough power when needed. This could delay or even prevent a life-saving shock in an emergency.
Freezing Electrode Pads: Many defibrillator pads contain a water-based gel that allows for proper conductivity and adhesion to the skin. When exposed to freezing temperatures, this gel can freeze, rendering the pads unusable. This would prevent the defibrillator from analysing the heart rhythm and delivering a necessary shock.
Internal Component Damage: While less common, extreme cold can also damage the internal components of a defibrillator, leading to malfunctions or complete failure.
Given the current freezing temperatures and snowfall in many parts of the UK, it's crucial to take steps to protect these vital devices:
Store defibrillators indoors: Ideally, keep them in heated spaces with temperatures within the manufacturer's recommended range (usually 0°C to 50°C).
Consider heated cabinets: For outdoor public access defibrillators, invest in a heated cabinet to maintain optimal temperature regardless of the weather.
Regularly check battery levels: Monitor battery levels more frequently during cold weather and replace them if needed.
Avoid leaving defibrillators in cars: The temperature fluctuations inside a car can be even more extreme than outside, putting additional stress on the device.
By taking these precautions, you can ensure that defibrillators remain functional and ready to use in case of an emergency, even during the cold and snowy winter months. Remember, a properly functioning defibrillator can be the difference between life and death.
We hope this information helps! Stay warm and stay safe!