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Defibrillators come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but they are simple to use and offer images and voice commands to take you through the process You do not need to be trained to use one.


Public access defibrillators (PADs) can be found in public spaces like your local shopping area, gym, Fire Station or village hall. That briefcase-sized box on the wall contains an AED (automated external defibrillator). 

It's there for anyone to use on someone in case of  cardiac arrest.

Easy to Use

An AED is a device that gives the heart an electric shock when someone’s heart has stopped (cardiac arrest).

You can use an AED on children over one year old and adults. Ambulances have them on board and our Responders carry them, but using an AED in the minutes before an ambulance arrives can double someone’s chances of survival. So it is up to bystanders to quickly find the nearest defibrillator. You could save someones life and it really is easy, even without training.

Every second counts

After a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, learn more here) and defibrillation reduces someone's chance of survival by 10 per cent. 

When you call 999, the operator can tell you if there's a public access defibrillator nearby. Don't delay or interrupt chest compressions to get it, send someone else.

We have installed  PADs (defibrillators) in our community. Click here to find your nearest PAD site but remember there may be an AED in places such as Hotels, sports centres and schools nearer to you if they are open.

How to use a defibrillator/AED

AED's are very easy to use. Although they don’t all look the same, they all function in broadly the same way. You do not need training, they are very easy to use

If you come across someone who is not breathing or breathing erratically, the most important thing is to call 999 and start CPR. If you're on your own, don't interrupt the CPR to go and get 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. Many, like the one below, also have visual ptompts.

You can use an AED with no training. The machine analyses someone’s heart rhythm and then uses visual or voice prompts to guide you through each step.


• First, make sure someone has called for an ambulance, and, if an AED isn’t immediately available, give CPR ( until someone can bring you an AED.)


• As soon as you’ve got an AED, switch it on. It will immediately start to give you a series of visual and verbal prompts informing you of what you need to do. Follow these prompts until the ambulance arrives or someone with more experience than you takes over.


• Take the pads out of the sealed pack. Remove or cut through any clothing and wipe away any sweat from the chest.


• Remove the backing paper and attach the pads to their chest


• Place the first pad on their upper right side, just below their collarbone as shown on the pad. Sometimes they are numbered but they will show you where each must go.


• Then place the second pad on their left side, just below the armpit. Make sure you position the pad lengthways, with the long side in line with the length of the their body.


• Once you’ve done this, the AED will start checking the heart rhythm. Make sure that no-one is touching the person. Continue to follow the voice and/or visual prompts that the machine gives you until help arrives.

© Haslemere CFR 2020