MINNEAPOLIS - Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, have saved thousands of lives.
The technology is found in airports, community centers, schools, government buildings and private offices, but just because they're within easy reach, does not mean they'll work when needed.
"Across the country there have been big issues because an AED was brought to a patient's side and it didn't work" said Kim Harkins with the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium at the University of Minnesota.
Harkins told KARE 11 there are two leading causes of potentially deadly AED failures. She said typically the problems are either the electrodes or batteries not working.
The devices get purchased, put on a shelf and forgotten about, sometimes for years, and then when they are needed they don't always work, Harkins explained.
She said the batteries and electrodes need regular maintenance.
On Friday, a new law went into effect requiring owners of Public Access AEDs to register the devices. The law does not specify what registry is used and there are a number of them out there that are free of charge including the Minnesota AED Registry.
"Unintentionally forgetting to do maintenance on AEDs is a significant problem" said Harkins.
That got us to question what shape our AED was in here at KARE 11. When we opened it up we discovered stickers stating our batteries were due to be changed in 2009 and our electrodes in 2012. It has since been restored to working order.
According to a study by the Annals of Emergency Medicine, some 1,150 deaths were tied to AED failures over a 15-year period, and nearly one in four of those failures was caused by problems with batteries.