Both the British Heart Foundation and Resuscitation Council (UK) are committed to saving lives through ensuring more people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest from increased public education and awareness.
Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) – where members of the lay public deliver defibrillation to a cardiac arrest victim before the arrival of the emergency services – can lead to substantially improved survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Independent research jointly commissioned by both organisations demonstrated that there was an opportunity to improve existing UK signs for publicly available Automated External Defibrillators (AED), with the aim of ensuring more people understand what they are used for and are encouraged to use them.
As such, following further testing and expert review within both organisations, they have developed a new AED location sign, and a supporting information poster.
The new AED location sign makes the following changes to the current one:
- It changes the lightning bolt icon into a stylised ECG heart trace – respondents overwhelmingly said they would be more likely to use a sign with this icon on
- The description is changed to “Defibrillator – Heart Restarter” – respondents said they thought this term would most encourage them to use the device
- A supine person was added, showing the suggested placement of the defibrillator pads, to reinforce (by way of a strong visual cue) how the device should be used
The supporting information poster was reviewed by experts and is consistent with the 2015 Resuscitation Council (UK) guidelines. It reinforces the following key messages about PAD and the use of an AED:
- Anyone can use an AED – you do not need prior medical or first-aid training
- It is easy to use – just follow its instructions
- It is for use on an unconscious person not breathing normally
Further information about the signs and the links to download them can be found on the Resuscitation Council (UK) website. This work has now been peer-reviewed and published in a respected medical journal.
Both organisations plan to recommend these new signs to anyone who prints and uses them.
Both the BHF and the Resuscitation Council (UK) appreciate that you may know of many further organisations and individuals to whom this information would be of interest. They would appreciate it if this information was disseminated further to such parties, as appropriate.