Updated Position: Defibrillators and the Law

Across the United Kingdom, there are laws in place that ensure public areas and workplaces have equipment that can save our lives. It’s hard to imagine a world where our sports centres and schools were without things like fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.

It’s surprising then that there’s one piece of equipment of which there is no legislation. A tool that is rarely seen in most workplaces, schools and public areas. A tool that could potentially save the lives of the 12 young people a week who die as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.


Steps in the Right Direction

The new push to make defibrillators mandatory in public buildings and areas of certain footfalls is absolutely welcome and much needed. The Defibrillators Availability Bill was introduced to parliament at the end of 2018, and is currently making its way through the House of Commons – currently on its second reading in the House of Commons. The bill not only recognises the need for AEDs in public places but demands that people be trained in how to use them with confidence.

The Bill accompanies the news that, in 2020, CPR will be added to the National Curriculum in England and a mandatory requirement to be taught. This means that all young people in England will have been taught how to give CPR and understand the purpose of a defibrillator by the time they leave secondary school.

Making a Life-Changing Diļ¬€erence

The 3-5 minutes following a sudden cardiac arrest are crucial. If a person’s heart isn’t restarted in this time, their chances of living are reduced by nearly 10% per minute. Given that the average ambulance response time in an urban area is 8-10 minutes, it is essential that defibrillators are readily available, and that members of the public are confident that they can use them to save someone’s life.

It’s a common misconception that only trained professionals are able to use defibrillators, so the Defibrillators Availability Bill puts emphasis on awareness and training as well as the availability of the devices. Combined with the addition of CPR to the school curriculum in England, the new legislation would make life-saving changes to the public’s understanding of using AEDs in an emergency.

Future Hopes

Head of Operations, Kimberley Lloyd, said: “It’s sad to think we live in a world that defibrillators aren’t a legal requirement like fire extinguishers in buildings and that people are still too scared to use a defibrillator because of the so called myths surrounding them, but we’re hoping the change to the National Curriculum and the Defibrillator Availability Bill will help to change that and ensure workplaces and public locations alike are equipped with these life-saving devices.”

The Bill is still progressing through the House of Commons, and it may be some time before it becomes law in the UK. In the meantime, it’s imperative that members of the public continue to be made aware of the importance of defibrillators, and the straightforward way they’re designed for all to use.

If you want to help protect your workforce or community, we as a Charity can help you with the procurement of defibrillators, grants available and of course most importantly we offer free CPR and defibrillator to anyone who wants to learn. Anyone one can apply to our Charity. 

Don’t delay, apply now, you have nothing to lose, but that person having a cardiac arrest has everything to lose.

Find a free CPR training session near you here