Maintaining your defibrillator

person looking at defibrillator in case

Maintaining your defibrillator

Every defibrillator comes with a guide booklet telling you how to look after it.  

Why should I check my defibrillator? 

Checking your defibrillator will ensure that you are aware of:

  • when the electrode pads expire
  • whether your defibrillator has been used
  • where it has a fault, e.g., the battery is low.

If you register your defibrillator on The Circuit, the national defibrillator network, you will receive regular reminders to record your checks. The Circuit can send you notifications to replace your electrode pads. If you have not already, you can register your defibrillator on The Circuit now.  

How often should a defibrillator be checked?

All defibrillators from the British Heart Foundation offer daily, weekly and monthly checks. If your device was purchased elsewhere then we would recommend referring to the user manual. Our team can also support if you're having trouble finding the information. It is important that your device is kept with the battery and a set of pads equipped and ready to use otherwise these tests will not run.

If a device fails a self-test then it may make a noise, flash and/or display an error on the display. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the user manual to understand what your specific device will do.

Not all devices conduct the same daily self-tests, if you're looking to purchase a device which conduct more comprehensive daily checks then our team will be happy to advise.

In addition to the self-tests, you will also need to physically check your defibrillator. We advise doing these physical checks weekly and have included the details below. When positioning a defibrillator, it is a good idea to place it somewhere visible such as the entrance to a building so that the device can be checked in passing.


How do I check my defibrillator? 

Here are the basic steps you need to follow to check your defibrillator.

1. Your defibrillator should tell you if something is wrong.
Defibrillators have a status display on the front of the device. This will usually be lit up green if the defibrillator is ok. Look out for beeping, flashing or an x on the display, these are usually signs that a device has failed its self-test. The icons are usually obvious on defibrillators sold in the UK but check your user manual if you’re not sure.

2. Check the rest of your defibrillator for any obvious signs of damage or use.

3. Check to see if the items that are usually stored with it are still there — like a first response kit.

4. Check the expiry date on the sticky pads. If they are out of date, replace them. You will want to ensure that a set of replacement pads are available when the current set nears expiry. 
You’ll may have to open the defibrillator case to do this. When you do, you may hear the defibrillator give instructions on how to use it – you can safely ignore these when you’re checking the defibrillator. When you close the case, the defibrillator will switch off automatically. Avoid switching the defibrillator on needlessly as this can drain the battery.

5. You may wish to give the defibrillator or cabinet a wipe with a damp cloth to prevent the buildup of dirt.

When you’ve carried out these steps, you can return your defibrillator to its shelf or cabinet. 

If you have not already, you can register your defibrillator on The Circuit now. 


Next: What to do after my defibrillator has been used →