Essentially you have three options:
Storing your AED in its carry bag may be suitable for persons deploying their AED at sporting events etc where it is located pitch side or for first responders who keep their AED in their car/ambulance etc. You should however ensure that your AED is well protected and that all of the accessories are also contained within the bag i.e. Pocket Mask, Towel, Razor, Paramedic Shears, Gloves etc.
When storing your Defibrillator indoors ideally it should be kept in a wall mounted cabinet. The advantages of doing so are that everyone knows where the Defibrillator is when it is needed, it is easy to check the units status by looking through the clear Perspex door panel and it helps to keep your AED secure. Our indoor AED Cabinets can be locked or left open for public access Defibrillation. Defibrillators should always be located centrally and near a phone as the person who is retrieving the AED is often the person tasked with calling the Ambulance also. If you do need to lock your Defibrillator cabinet for security reasons then every trained person should be issued with their own key and backup keys should be located nearby. Placing a key in a 'Break Glass' unit is also an option. Remember survival rates of a person in Cardiac Arrest drop by 7-10% per minute so quick access is essential.
Many Sport Clubs, Schools and Community groups choose to store their Defibrillators outdoors so as to ensure quick access when they are needed. We have been supplying AEDs and AED Cabinets since 1998 and have seen many different types of AED storage cabinets, some suitable for outdoor storage and some that are not. All AED manufacturers state that there AEDs should not be stored or used in temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. There is one exception to this where one manufacturer recommends that their AED be stored above 10 degrees Celsius. Generally speaking the reason for this is that prolonged exposure to freezing conditions may cause the battery to deteriorate. One option would be to store your AED in a heated cabinet however this does not solve the problem of the manufacturers recommendation that the AED should be operated above 0 degrees Celsius. So what happens if you need to use your Defibrillator and it is -5 outside? Well, go ahead and use it! These are but recommendations and it makes perfect since for manufacturers to recommend that their AEDs not be stored or used in temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius as this may cause battery depletion, essentially manufacturers are covering themselves. One myth regarding outdoor storage of AEDs is that the gel on the pads freezes easily. We have carried out several tests on several different types of AED pads. All pads were frozen at -21 degrees Celsius for 3 days before been removed, opened and attached to human skin. All AED pads adhered perfectly and the gel was not frozen on any pads. The reason for this is that the gel is alcohol based and alcohol (depending on the purity) freezes at extremely low temperatures far lower than we ever experience in Europe.
We have been supplying AEDs and storing them in outdoor AED cabinets since 1998 and have never had a Defibrillator or Defibrillator battery fail. You should always check with the manufacturer (not the sales rep) to see if their AED can be stored outdoors in an unheated cabinet as recommended by the Irish Medicines Board IMB. Additionally the cabinet should of course be weatherproof.
Heated or temperature controlled defibrillator cabinets are relatively new to the market. These offer either a heating mechanism or a heating and cooling mechanism and are generally powered off of a mains power source.
Our outdoor, heated AED cabinet is made from galvanised steel or polycarbonate with a clear Perspex window for AED inspection. The temperature inside the cabinet can be set to whatever temperature you desire and it is digitally displayed on the front of the box. The cabinet is coloured yellow for easy identification and has ILCOR approved, green AED signage. In addition to this it features stainless steel mechanical locks or a stainless steel door handle.
When it comes to accessing to your outdoor AED Cabinet you have only 2 options:
do not lock it
Most communities do lock their AED cabinets to prevent theft. Options are usually a key lock, combination lock or digital keypad.
Some heated AED cabinets have a heater plate at the rear of the unit and the AED sits up against it. We would advise against this as the AED is exposed to high temperatures. Our heated AED cabinet has a shelf over the heating mechanism to protect your AED.