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Crucial Emergency Equipment Maintenance

Posted by Simone Poulter | Feb 22, 2024 6:28:09 PM

As part of your workplace emergency response plan, you should have a first aid plan. These are documented first aid response protocols that guide staff and others on site on what actions should be taken in the event of a first aid emergency.

Arrangements will vary across each workplace based on staffing, the work environment, and element of risk, however the first aid response will generally include commonly understood first aid action steps including:

  • How to trigger a nurse call alert
  • How to respond to a nurse call alert
  • How to monitor and manage hardware and software that’s used as part of an emergency response
  • How to monitor and manage first aid equipment

Maintaining Emergency Alert Systems

What equipment does your workplace have installed that workers use to trigger or respond to an alert? How often do you monitor or test nurse call triggers, sirens, and lights? Do you use wearable nurse call triggers (personal SOS buttons) as part of your emergency system? Do staff understand how to use the emergency equipment.

Power failure or an inability to connect to the rest of the system is a common complaint with regards to emergency alert systems. If devices use batteries, it’s important to stay on top of the level of charge and replace or recharge them as necessary. Vanguard Wireless customers never have to ‘press and guess’ that the device will work. System managers can refer to a control panel, smartphone app, and/or web-based user portal to view device power and system connectivity in real time, with system checks performed multiple times every hour, 24/7.

Personal wearables can lose power quite quickly, particularly if it uses GPS or an internal SIM card. It’s important to monitor this and check the manufacturer’s guide for how often to recharge it. Vanguard Wireless wearable nurse call triggers connect to the closest enabled smartphone or physical device only when the button is pressed, which means it’s quite conservative with power use. It can last up to 60 days between charges. More importantly, the power of the wearable is reported on the smartphone app, so you’re never guessing what charge it has. This is particularly useful if you’re monitoring the wearable on behalf of your workforce.


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Accessing The Latest Safety Software

It's also important to ensure your systems are using the latest software. On many smartphones, installed apps will update automatically when published by the developer. Other software developers might not update an app at all, with the technology at some stage no longer available to support your investment. Some software applications, such as Salesforce, offer an off-the-shelf solution which isn’t updated without the help of affiliate programmer.

In some instances, equipment – such as Vanguard Wireless’ Touchscreen Control Unit (TCU) – require to opt into a software update. Users are notified of a software update that’s available but need to press a button from the user portal to push the update to the TCU.

Before you start using hardware that incorporates software you should understand how ‘future-proofed’ your investment will be.

Maintaining First Aid Equipment

Two major components of a first aid kit – defibrillators and adrenaline injectors – use parts that carry an expiration date.

If you manage an automated external defibrillator (AED), you should be aware that the pads have an expiration date. For an AED to provide the right kind of therapy to a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victim, the AED pads must make proper contact with the patient’s skin. The gel that covers the pads act as a bonding agent between the sudden cardiac arrest victim and the AED pads. However, over time, the gel begins to dry out and the chemical makeup of the gel breaks down.

The typical life expectancy of AED pads is between 18 and 30 months. Therefore, it’s vital to conduct routine maintenance and supply checks of all your AED units and medical emergency supply kits to ensure that they are in optimal condition. The risk of not doing so could cost someone his or her life.

Adrenaline injectors – sometimes colloquially known as an EpiPen® or Anapen® – are used on someone who is in anaphylactic shock. It works by injecting adrenaline which relaxes muscles in the airway, stomach, intestines, and bladder. Most people at risk of anaphylaxis will carry their own adrenaline injector with them, but having one in the first aid kit can be a lifesaver if the worker goes into shock unexpectantly.

Storage conditions for an adrenaline (epinephrine) injector are rigid. They need to be stored in a cool dark place at room temperature, between 15-25°C. The shelf life of adrenaline injector devices is usually 12 to 18 months with the expiry date on the side of the device visible. should be marked on a calendar or diary. Some injectors contain a clear window near the tip where you can check if the adrenaline is discoloured or contains sediment. If this is the case, the device should be replaced as the adrenaline may be less effective.

With both products the pads or injector cannot be reused. It should be replaced immediately after use.

Keep Your Kit Up To Date

Safework Australia recommend as part of their First Aid Code of Practice that workplaces undertake regular checks (after each use or, if the kit is not used, at least once every 12 months). Safety managers need to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items, creating an inventory list in the kit that should be signed and dated after each check. 


How up to date is your emergency equipment? Speak to us about how we can deliver and install a smart, future-proofed system with little to no retrofitting requirements or additional costs.

Topics: medicalemergencies, nursecallunits, nursecall, medicalalertsystems, innovation, HSE, digitisation, bestnursecallsystem, EHS, healthandsafety, constructionnursecallsystem, medicalemergency, emergencyplan, emergencyresponse, fireextinguisher, defibrillator, manualcallpoint, firstaid

Written by Simone Poulter

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