How Extreme Heat and Cold Affect Your AED
If only we all lived where the weather was sunny and 75° all year long. Then conditions for our AEDs would be ideal! But we don’t, and they aren’t. An AED is an electronic device with a built-in computer. Just like a laptop, tablet, or other electronic device, you don’t want to expose your AED to extreme heat or cold.
The Impact of Heat on an AED
Extreme heat can cause damage in multiple ways. In areas with desert-like climates such as the Southwest, where temperatures can reach well above 110°F, circuitry can literally melt, causing a malfunction. In addition, heat has been known to affect the life of lithium batteries.
The majority of AED manufacturers recommend standby and operating temperatures between 32°F and 122°F (0°-50°C). Remember, the temperature in a car can get much higher than the temperature outside on a hot day. On a 90°F day (within the manufacturer’s guidelines) the interior of a car can get upwards of 130° if it is sitting in the sun.
Keep your AED’s temperature guidelines in mind when you decide where to store or locate your AED. A cabinet that sits in the afternoon sun or unsheltered outdoor location might not be a safe place for your device.
AEDs and Extreme Cold
Your AED won’t withstand the cold any better than it does the heat. Extreme cold can play a different role than melting the internal circuitry of the AED. While the adhesive in an AED electrode pad is alcohol based and therefore less susceptible to losing adhesion in the cold, the cold itself may affect the electronic function of the AED. We heard about this first-hand from one of our customers.
Wes Wagoner, one of the lead product trainers at AED Superstore and a customer service representative, tells the story of one lucky customer who left their AED in the cold by accident “I remember several years ago it was reported to us that an AED was left in a vehicle, day and night, for a several-week period in below-freezing conditions. Once this was realized, they brought the unit indoors and tried to turn it on. It took a couple days for the unit to thaw out enough to turn on, which could have been devastating if they had had to use it.”
Keeping Your AED in Ready-to-Rescue Condition
While some AEDs are rated for tough use and built ruggedly to withstand abuse, it’s still important to keep your device within its manufacturer-recommended temperature range. To avoid risking damage to your device or temporarily putting it out of service:
- ☀️If you are taking it outside, say to a sporting event, keep it in a shady area out of direct sunlight.
- ☀️Place your AED in a small insulated bag or cooler that has CLEARLY been marked so it is easily found if needed.
- ☀️If you need to keep your AED in a vehicle, for instance, an emergency vehicle, do not store it in the trunk. Rather, store it in the air-conditioned cabin of the vehicle, out of direct sunlight, if the vehicle must be parked for any length of time.
- ☀️/❄️If you keep your AED in a vehicle, bring it inside in the evening and store inside.
- ❄️Keep your AED in the heated cabin of the vehicle in cold temperatures, not in the trunk, and bring inside at night.
If you do not have a temperature-controlled environment and you are looking for a cabinet solution, AED Superstore is now carrying a line of AIVIA cabinets. These AED cabinets have options such as heaters and fans, to keep your AED warm or cool (depending on your climate and needs) and ready for action.
Have you run into any temperature-related snags with your AED? Comment below.