Do you need a defibrillator?

Young woman taking defibrillator in gymnasium with collapsed person in the background

Do you need a defibrillator?

Are there any defibrillators nearby? 

Before you get a defibrillator, you can check if there are already defibrillators within 200m of your organisation. The quickest way to do this is to enter your postcode into Defib Finder.

Defib Finder does not list all the defibrillators in an area. It only lists a defibrillator if:  

  • it’s registered with the national defibrillator network, The Circuit  
  • whoever registered it has given their permission for the details to be shared with the public.  

As well as looking on Defib Finder you could:  

  • check your area to see if there are any publicly accessible defibrillators  
  • ask on social media sites like Facebook.  

Defib Finder also tells you if defibrillators are available to the public and when.  

Ideally, a public defibrillator will be available all the time. But this is not always the case.  

Some defibrillators are kept inside a building. When the building is closed, the defibrillator is not available.

Even if your local area already has a defibrillator, there might be a need for more. Go to ‘How many defibrillators do you need?’ 

Working out the risk of not having a defibrillator 

If you’re considering buying a defibrillator, carrying out a risk assessment will be useful.

A risk assessment helps measure the level of health and safety risk connected to an environment or activity.

Every potential risk is given two scores from 1-5:

  • one score for the likelihood of the event happening
  • one score for the severity of consequences. 

How to assess the risk of a cardiac arrest 

1. What are the chances of someone having a cardiac arrest?

We know that each year more than 30,000 people have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK.  

No one can predict where one will happen. Here are some examples that could affect the likelihood of someone having a cardiac arrest:  

  • how many people there are – usually, the more people there are, the greater the risk  
  • age of people on the site – anyone can have a cardiac arrest, but it’s more common in older people
  • location – busy places like transport hubs are riskier. So are places like factories, where people are using electrical equipment or machinery.  

2. What are the consequences of a cardiac arrest if it happens? 

If someone has a cardiac arrest and does not get immediate treatment, they will die. This means the consequence score will always be 5.  

3. What’s the risk rating? 

To find your risk rating for each event, you multiply the severity score by the likelihood score to see an overall risk rating.

The likelihood score will depend on the environment and activity. Use your judgement to choose a likelihood score. You then multiply this score by the severity score – which is always 5 in case of a cardiac arrest.

For example, your location is a busy factory. Most of the staff are male and over the age of 40. The nearest defibrillator is 7 miles away.

Your risk assessment might look like this: likelihood 4 x severity 5 = 20