Choosing a defibrillator

orange defibrillator

Choosing a defibrillator

When you’re ready to get a defibrillator, you’ll need to choose which one to get.

The type of defibrillator you choose will depend on:  

  • the location it will be kept in
  • who will be using it
  • whether it will be used on children.  

Automatic vs semi-automatic defibrillators 

Defibrillators are either semi-automatic or fully automatic.  

The difference is how much action is needed from the person using it.  

  • A semi-automatic defibrillator analyses the person’s heart rhythm. It then asks the operator to press a button when safe to do so to deliver a shock if the casualty needs one.  
  • A fully automatic defibrillator will advise if a shock is needed. It will tell people to step back and then it will give a shock.  

Both types of device are designed to be used by an untrained user but in some situations a semi-automatic defibrillator is better. For example:  

  • in a particularly busy place, you may want to make sure other people have moved out of the way before giving the shock.  
  • somewhere wet like a swimming pool, you will want to make sure the person is in a safe place before you give the shock.  

If you’re not sure whether to get a semi-automatic or fully automatic defibrillator, we can talk through your situation.  

Call 0300 330 3322 (option 6) or email: [email protected] 

Will it work for children?  

For children, the shock from a defibrillator needs to be weaker than it is for adults.  

Some defibrillators let you switch easily from adult mode to child mode. Others need different electrode pads that are suitable for use on children or a special ‘child key’ to switch mode.  

If you might need to use a defibrillator on a child, we would always recommend a defibrillator with a key or built-in switch as this can save vital time during an emergency.  

What connectivity features do I need?

You may want to get data on your defibrillator, like how often it’s been used. This can be helpful for the hospital to understand what’s happened.

Most defibrillators include an SD port, infrared and Bluetooth. More expensive models include the choice to monitor them remotely.  

Some include a motion sensor, so you know when a device has been used.  

Do IP ratings matter? 

Ingress protection (IP) ratings are about how well-protected your defibrillator is from things like water and dust.  

Most defibrillators have an IP rating of 55, meaning they’re resistant to normal amounts of dust and water.  

You may want to consider a defibrillator with a higher IP rating if your defibrillator is likely to get wet, or you’re using it in an industrial setting.