Obtaining an AED for Your Community

How to Obtain an AED for your Local Community

At Martek Lifecare, we’re passionate about raising awareness of the impact of heart disease, alongside the importance of AED availability and easy access. As a result of collective efforts by significant charities and organisations, you’ll likely see more defibrillators in public places – usually highly visible in a bright yellow, green or white cabinet in a central location. 

If you’ve been wondering how you can secure an AED for your community or are looking into some common questions surrounding AED placement, you’re not alone. 

Known as Community Public Access Defibrillators (or cPAD for short), AEDs in public spaces have saved thousands of lives to date. We’re often contacted by people who want to obtain a defibrillator for their local community, sports facility or school. 

In this handy guide, we’ve compiled a variety of frequently asked questions we receive on purchasing, installing and maintaining an AED in a public space or local community. We’ll also share some simple steps to bear in mind when purchasing a defibrillator in this capacity. 

Why should every community have access to an AED?

AEDs save lives. In the event of sudden cardiac arrest, defibrillation promptly offers the only chance of survival for the patient. Manual CPR is necessary and can be used to sustain life leading up to AED use, but only defibrillation can re-start the heart. With each minute that passes, the chances of survival diminish significantly. 

Ambulance response times vary throughout the UK, but a trend has become longer each year as pressures on the NHS rise. This means that the average ambulance response time in your area may not be sufficient to save the life of someone in SCA – an AED must be found and used before the ambulance crew arrives. 

The importance becomes even more apparent in rural or hard-to-reach areas, where ambulance response times maybe even more protracted. 

Can anyone use an AED (even if untrained)? 

Yes! This is why AEDs are so essential and have saved so many lives to date. Absolutely no formal training or prior medical knowledge is needed to operate them; even a child can use an AED. 

Modern defibrillators come with clear audio prompts (and sometimes visual in the case of Lifeline VIEW), which walk you step-by-step through the operation, switch it on, and follow the instructions. 

Some people understandably worry about doing something wrong or operating an AED incorrectly; however, AEDs are fool-proof and are designed with protective measures, meaning a shock can only be delivered if needed. Provided you call 999 in the first instance, you’ll be covered by the advice they give and will have assistance from them to accompany the instructions given by the AED. 

Can we access AED training?

Although training isn’t required to use an AED as detailed above, it’s well worth investing in training for key individuals and first aiders to help them to feel more confident when using one. We provide basic and in-depth training for businesses, charities, organisations and individuals – get in touch for details. 

Do I need permission to site a defibrillator in my local community? 

This will depend on who is purchasing and storing the defibrillator and where. As a business or organisation, you will not usually need any permission other than from the owners or management to acquire and register a cPAD. Planning permission is also not applicable, as a defibrillator is classified as essential emergency medical equipment and categorised as ‘di minimis aid’ in planning terms. Listed building consent may be required for certain types of buildings – it’s always best to check with your local planning department if you are unsure. 

Who is responsible for a Community Public Access Defibrillator?

Usually, you will appoint a ‘guardian’ or responsible person who is the first point of contact for matters regarding the AED. 

A nominated person should also check the defibrillator regularly to ensure that it is always rescue-ready and replace pads and batteries at set intervals. Sometimes, your ambulance service will take on this responsibility as part of their agreement with local authorities. AEDs come with extended warranties, which cover them for several years, so you’ll always have support if needed. At Martek Lifecare, we offer full servicing and maintenance plans to provide complete peace of mind and remove any worries regarding the upkeep and management of your defibrillator. 

How do I know where the nearest defibrillator is in an emergency? 

In an emergency, the first and most important thing to do is call 999 and request medical assistance. The operator will ask you whether a defibrillator is located nearby – if you aren’t sure, they will inform you. Only send someone to look for an AED if you can spare them when delivering manual CPR in the interim or once the location has been received, and never leave the casualty alone.

Although you might like to familiarise yourself with the location of your local AED for peace of mind, there isn’t a centralised database indicating this. You may be able to obtain this information from your local community group or council. 

Do we need to register our cPAD with the ambulance service? 

Yes – as soon as you receive your AED, contact your local ambulance service to register it as a cPAD. They will then add it to their system. Once registered, they will have details of its exact location, cabinet lock code if applicable and the details of the AED’s guardian or responsible person alongside other relevant information. This will allow the cPAD to be easily used in an emergency nearby. 

Want to learn more about getting an AED for your community? Contact our friendly team today.

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