Public access defibrillators (PADs) can be found in public spaces like your local shopping centre, gym, train station or village hall. That briefcase-sized box on the wall contains a PAD. It is there for anyone to use on someone in cardiac arrest and it is quick and easy to use.
If you have a cardiac arrest away from hospital, having a defibrillator close at hand can be an essential lifesaving step towards your survival. The device creates an electric charge to shock the heart and help to establish a normal heartbeat. This is called defibrillation.
The organisation Heartsafe has published an online map of known defibrillator locations across the UK.
What if there isn't a defibrillator in my local area?
Buy a defibrillator to donate
Individuals or communities can buy defibrillators to donate to their local area. This is what a member of the public did in February 2016 after he recovered from a cardiac arrest. The defibrillator is installed at the West Street entrance to Swan Walk in Horsham ready to save more lives.
South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) are recommending the WelMedical iPAD SP1 defibrillator to community groups. Ideally the PAD should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in an unlocked cabinet in a prominent location that is easy for any member of the public to find in an emergency. For further help or advice please contact SECamb.
Apply for British Heart Foundation funding
You can also apply for a part-funded defibrillator from the British Heart Foundation.
Become a Community First Responder
If you have some spare time you may like to think about volunteering to be a Community First Responder (CFR). CFRs are volunteer members of their community who are trained to respond to emergency calls in conjunction with the South East Coast Ambulance Service. As they respond in the local areas where they live and work they are able to attend the scene of an emergency within a few minutes, and often before the emergency service arrives. They are able to offer life-saving first aid further increasing the patient’s chances of survival.
Find out about being a Community First Responder on the South East Coast Ambulance Service website.