Public Access Defibrillators

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are life-saving items of equipment which, when used with cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can support survival from sudden cardiac arrest. They are electrical devices that analyse the heart rhythm and administer an electric shock if necessary to try and restore a normal heart rhythm. AEDs are specifically designed to be used by members of the public as well as first responders in the event of a cardiac arrest. Early CPR and defibrillation is essential for survival. Increasing awareness of the need for CPR and the placement of AEDs in public places helps reduce the time delay between cardiac arrest and shock and increases the number of people able to respond to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. It increases the chances of survival by providing CPR and defibrillation before emergency services arrive on the scene.

Using an AED

All that is required to use an AED is to recognise that someone who has collapsed may have had a sudden cardiac arrest and to attach the two adhesive pads (electrodes) that are used to connect the AED to the patient’s bare chest. Through these pads the AED can both monitor the heart’s electrical rhythm and deliver a shock when it is needed. The AED provides audible instructions and most models also provide visual prompts on a screen. The AED will analyse the heart’s electrical rhythm and if it detects a rhythm likely to respond to a shock, it will charge itself ready to deliver a shock. The use of an AED is not restricted to trained rescuers. An AED can be used safely and effectively without any previous training by members of the public. However we do encourage members of the public to attend an AED training course to be able to use the equipment most efficiently together with providing basic life support techniques.

Guernsey Public Accessible Defibrillators Scheme

The Guernsey Public Accessible Defibrillator program has been co-ordinated by the Cardiac Action Group. Most of the cabinets and AEDs have been purchased following the generous donation of funds raised at the Skipton Swimarathon in 2012. After deployment, St John maintains and regularly checks each site.

Accessing the AED

If you are with a patient who is unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally call 999 immediately to summon the ambulance. If you are in the area of a public accessible defibrillator, the Ambulance Control Assistant will guide you to its location and give you the details on how to open the AED box with a code number to obtain the AED. When back with the patient turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts. We encourage all members of the public to attend a course to learn how to perform CPR and operate the AED.

Purchasing an AED

If your group or business would like further information in obtaining an AED or to provide an AED which is fully accessible to members of the public, please contact the sales team in The St John Healthcare Shop telephone 01481 729268.


If you would like further details on courses provided by St John in Basic Life Support and the use of an AED please contact the training team on 01481 247979 or click here