Waterproof defibrillator cabinets

There are several different materials available on the market today.

  • Painted Mild Steel
  • Painted Stainless Steel
  • Plastic
  • Painted Aluminium
  • A combination of the above

What are the advantages of one over the other?

Painted Stainless Steel

Best material available on the market and should give many years of service without the need for maintenance. It is the material Ce-Tek Medical recommend to customers who are prepared to spend a little more for the best available.

Painted Mild Steel

Low cost option and has good corrosion resistance but is not recommended for installation in coastal locations or in areas where subject to salt spray.

Painted Aluminium

Lower cost material which is lighter than steel. It does have several disadvantages however.

  • Oxidation - Exposure to the elements causes aluminium to oxidise (you see a white deposit on the surface) which makes it unsuitable for saline atmospheres.
  • Lower strength than steel - Aluminium has a much lower strength than steel or stainless steel which makes it more susceptible to vandalism and theft.
  • Higher thermal conductivity - Aluminium loses its heat faster than mild steel or stainless steel which means the heating will be required more often in an aluminium cabinet therefore increasing the running cost of the enclosure.

Door Lock

There are many types of push button (code type) door locks on the market today, the problem with nearly all of them being that they are designed for indoor use only.

At Ce-Tek Medical we only use marine grade stainless steel push button locks which are designed to be used outside in all weathers and most importantly in corrosive salt laden environments.

Several cabinets on the market today use a cheap aluminium push button lock which over time oxidises and corrodes and then fails to work. This is not a good solution for a cabinet designed to be used in an emergency. The one thing we can say about such locks is that they are cheap so save a little money on the original purchase price of the cabinet but in the short term will need replacing so they are false economy.

You also need to look at how the lock operates. On the Ce-Tek Medical cabinets the lock striker mechanism locates into a plate or box section making it impossible to tamper with from the outside. On several cabinets available on the market the striker can be accessed by simply using a credit card to operate and open thus negating the point of having a locked cabinet.

Should I have an insulated cabinet?

We are often asked this question as there are several cabinets on the market that are insulated and their manufacturers claim this to be a superior system.

Our sister company are enclosure manufacturers and are acknowledged experts in this field, they deliver enclosures to some of the harshest environments in the World with temperatures ranging from -65C to +60C and use a powerful computer system for thermal modelling of enclosures/cabinets to determine the level of heating and/or cooling required.

Extensive testing has shown that the Ce-Tek Medical solution of a thermostatically controlled internal heater (to keep the pads operational and above 4 degrees centigrade) is by far the best one for a defibrillator cabinet. In fact the tests have shown that in the summer time when the outside temperature reaches 25 degrees centigrade a cabinet with 20mm of insulation will reach an internal temperature of 65 degrees centigrade some 15 degrees above the maximum the defibrillator can withstand. This will also certainly be enough to invalidate the warranty on your defibrillator!

For this reason the Ce-Tek Medical do not recommend that your defibrillator cabinets are insulated.

What other points should I be aware of?

Fail to safety

When specifying your cabinets you should also be careful to choose one that is designed to fail to safety. Basically this means that if the thermostat fails it does not leave the heater permanently switched on. We know of several instances where a competitor's product has failed resulting in the defibrillator inside being destroyed.


This is another very important area to look at. The Ce-Tek Medical cabinets use internal hinges that can only be accessed from the inside of the cabinet. You need to ensure that the hinges are internal otherwise the door can be removed by “knocking out” the hinge pins. You should also ensure that there are no access cutouts on the door sides that allow the hinge locking pins to be removed externally.


As we are market leaders in enclosures for hostile environments, we like to think that we know what it takes to manufacture a waterproof outdoor defibrillator cabinet!

Our cabinets have an IP rating (ingress protection rating) of either IP65 (standard cabinets) or IP66 (deluxe cabinets)

What does this mean? Well there is an international standard BS EN 60529 which lays down the strict rules for IP testing and a rating of IP65 means it is good for being washed down with water from a hose pipe and IP66 means it is good for being washed down by high pressure hoses.

Several cabinets on the market today claim to be IP65 or better but in our experience this is not the case, especially i f they are fitted with the cheap aluminium push button locks which are at best IP54!!

Thermal Cycling

What does that mean?

Basically, when a cabinet heats up during the day it expands the air inside the cabinet which is then pushed to the outside atmosphere. Then during the evening and night time when the cabinet cools down it “sucks” the outside air back in again. This outside air is moisture laden and will over time condense and form water inside the cabinet.

What can you do to avoid this?

Well first of all you can specify a cabinet with the highest IP rating available (which is from the Defeib Store) Then the Defib Store fit as standard a specially manufactured plug which has a membrane inside that will let the air to flow in and out, but not any moisture, thus eliminating any condensation inside the cabinet.


If you have any questions whatsoever on suitability of a cabinet for your location, please get in touch with us will be able to guide you through this process.