Defibrillators save lives

AEDs and defibrillatorsActing quickly when someone is in cardiac arrest and fighting for their life is crucially important.  Around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year. 

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%.

A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest. These machines can also be called AEDs (automated external defibrillators).

Getting a defibrillator

If you are considering getting a defibrillator, you should first contact your local NHS ambulance service in England, Wales, or Scotland. If you are in Northern Ireland, please email us. You may also be eligible for funding from the British Heart Foundation towards a defibrillator.

Where should defibs be placed?

Ideally defibs need to be placed in areas where there are a high number of cardiac arrests or where it is hard for the ambulance service to get to quickly.

Rural areas, high traffic congestion or poor road networks and areas where large crowds gather are all places where defibs need to be placed.

Since 1996 we have placed more than 9,500 defibrillators around the UK.

How to use a defibrillator

Defibrillators are very easy to use. Although they don’t all look the same, they all function in broadly the same way.

If you come across someone who is not breathing or breathing erratically, the most important thing is to start CPR. If you're on your own, don't interrupt the CPR to go and fetch a defibrillator. When you can, send someone else to find one. Once the defibrillator is open, all you have to do is follow the spoken instructions.