By: Rose Dodson
1. Two Key Symbols to look for on the packaging.
This image tells you when it was manufactured .
This tells you the date it expires.
For the most part you will be more concerned about the latter.
2. Checking expiration dates. Expiration dates on certain consumable crash cart items, such as emergency drugs, is a given. However, there are other disposable items that could be questionable. For example airway devices such as I-Gels, LMAs, and ET tubes all have a specific shelf life and you should be able to find an expiration date on the packaging.
3. Consider shelf life and update accordingly. On the other hand a bag valve mask resuscitator (Ambu Bag) doesn’t have a specific shelf life and while you do want to consider updating them every few years, you probably won’t find an expiration date. In this case the manufactured date might be of value. I would say after 5+ years, it’s probably time to consider updating your BVM.
4. Check the dates on your IO Device. For example if you have the EZ IO intraosseous drill, the needles expire about every 4 years.
5. Your AED. Your AED has two separate components to consider when getting it up to date–The electrodes/pads and the battery.
The electrodes have a conductive gel that will dry out over time, so it’s important that you keep these current. The standard shelf life is about 2 years, however there are certain companies such as Zoll that will not expire for about 5 years.Then there is the AED battery to consider. The expiration date or usefulness of the battery can vary quite a bit depending on the manufacturer. The standard would be 4-5 years. In some cases there will be an expiration date on the battery and in others you will only see the date of manufacture.
Keeping your crash cart up to date can seem like a daunting task. Hopefully this will clear up a few questions.