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Defibrillators Save Lives

Fewer than 1 in 10 people in Britain survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Two big factors that play a part in this are:

  • there aren’t enough people prepared to perform CPR when someone has a cardiac arrest

  • there aren’t enough defibrillators

By having a defibrillator available to you and by training people in CPR, you can play an important part in saving more lives and showing you care. 'Irish in Britain's Health Development Officer, Ellen Gavin, has put together information and advice for anyone thinking of buying a defibrillator for a community centre or workplace

Purchasing a Defibrillator

London Ambulance Service recommends either a fully automatic or a semi-automatic defibrillator. We would also advise that the defibrillator is equipped with two sets of electrode pads.

Defibrillators can be purchased from many different providers. London Ambulance Service has recommended some manufacturers that are already in widespread use at public-access defibrillator sites across London (click here to read).

Irish in Britain recommends considering the British Heart Foundation. These Defibs come with a four-year warranty and a free CPR kit, DVD and mannequin.

Irish in Britain has been in contact with Lisa who works on the British Heart Foundation Helpline, and she has recommended two defibrillators (see below).

Lisa has also kindly offered a small discount to our member groups who call or email her and mention that you were referred by Ellen at Irish in Britain.

She can be contacted by calling 0300 3303311 and pressing option 6 or by emailing

If you would like to place an order, she can raise an invoice for you, alternatively you can pay online with a credit card. She will also be happy to answer any additional questions that you may have.

Fully automatic iPad Defibrillator: buy from BHF HERE

Semi Automatic iPad Defibrillator: buy from BHF HERE

*If these Defibs are out of stock upon attempt of purchase, I recommend calling the number above as they will be able to provide restock details.

Post-Defib purchase information

Defibrillator placement

The Resuscitation Council (UK) advise the following on location of defibrillators:

Defibrillators should be located as close as possible to their most likely place of use. This will usually be determined by the layout of the building or venue and by the number of people at potential risk in each place. Security considerations may play an additional role.

During the early implementation of the National Defibrillator Programme, it was decided to place AEDs no further than two-minute brisk walk from the places that they were likely to be used, and this precedent could act as a practical guide.

London Ambulance Service recommend that all defibrillators are placed in the same area throughout the building, in an area of plain view which is used daily by the majority of people (i.e. by the lifts/reception/communal areas). If defibrillators are placed in areas away from view, then their location can be forgotten at the crucial time of use.

It would be our recommendation to place a defibrillator on each floor.


The London Ambulance Service does not support nor advocate locked cabinets. They do not provide the key/access code to 999 callers, nor do they ‘store’ codes as this may encourage people to get locked cabinets.

It is not an issue of complexity for the control room staff, it is because locked cabinets delay access to defibrillators, codes get forgotten, changed, or the locks can seize. The service recommends one with a door alarm but no lock. 

Once you have purchased your defibrillator, London Ambulance Service ask you to please get in touch and register it.


Every site must have two nominated people who are responsible for regular defibrillator checks. It is an accreditation requirement that contact details for the two people are provided to the London Ambulance Service. 

Most modern defibrillators are designed to do an automatic self-check every 24 hours and its electronic display confirms the defibrillator’s readiness. Whilst defibrillators need their batteries and pads replaced, they do not require any routine servicing or maintenance. 

Weekly and monthly checks are required to ensure the defibrillator is ready to use. These checks should take no more than five minutes and the outcome must be recorded. In the absence of an existing method of recording these checks, they can be recorded using the London Ambulance Service online checking system which is detailed here: 

Weekly checks 

  • Check that the display indicates the defibrillator is working correctly and that the battery is charged. 

  • Check that the defibrillator pads have not reached their expiry date. 

  • Confirm check has taken place and the details are recorded. 

Monthly checks 

  • Check that the display indicates the defibrillator is working correctly. 

  • Check that the defibrillator pads have not reached their expiry date. 

  • Switch on the defibrillator to confirm that it is working and switch off. 

  • Confirm check has taken place and the details are recorded.

Your site can only remain accredited if you regularly check the defibrillator. 

Support from London Ambulance Service

One you have bought a Defib, London Ambulance Service will provide the following support:


One of their team will arrange to visit your site. They will meet with your nominated staff, answer any questions you may have and assess your organisation against the accreditation criteria.

Once accredited, the organisation will receive a certificate, a memorandum of understanding signed by both parties, an accreditation badge to display in your property, and signs to indicate the location of the defibrillator.


They will provide accredited sites with access to their online checking system.


They will automatically alert you to a serious medical emergency near the defibrillator location.


Their team will provide advice and support to accredited sites. When a defibrillator is used, a call should be made to the Defibrillator Hotline on 020 7783 2365 at the earliest opportunity. They will visit your site to debrief those involved and answer any questions or concerns.

London Lifesaver

It is vital that upon purchasing a defib, that people within your organisation are trained to use it. The London Lifesavers Course is a free initiative run by the London Ambulance Service to equip as many people across London with the knowledge and confidence in what to do in a life threatening emergency situation.

Their aim is to significantly improve the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest in the community, by training members of the public to be able to deliver this lifesaving skill to a wider audience themselves: passing on their knowledge.

Anyone can be trained to deliver the course, although it would be ideal if the learner had some medical/first aid background or experience of teaching.

The plan for this training would be that if at least one person per organisation was trained up in the free London Life Savers Train the Trainer course, that they would be able to provide the training inhouse thereafter.

If this is something that your organisation is interested in finding out more about or you would like any additional information, please contact Ellen Gavin at