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Every year in the UK, there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrests a year requiring a Defibrillator

What is the difference between a  cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

A heart attack happens when there is a lack of blood flow to the heart, generally caused by furred arteries. The patient will likely be conscious and experiencing pain. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.

A Cardiac Arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. The condition usually results from a problem with the heart's electrical system.


Blood needs to be circulated to keep the vital organs alive, especially the brain. 

Somebody collapsing with Cardiac Arrest will have up to five minutes of oxygen in their blood. Administering CPR (chest compressions) will circulate this oxygen to keep the vital organs alive. A Defibrillator will provide the best chance of restoring the functions of the heart.

What is a Defibrillator?

A Defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in Cardiac Arrest. This high-energy shock is called defibrillation, and it's an essential part in trying to save the life of someone who’s in Cardiac Arrest. A Defibrillator may also be called a Defib, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) or a PAD (Public Access Defibrillator).

The use of an AED (Automated Exterior Defibrillator) will give somebody the best opportunity of survival.

An orange Defibrillator
An opened defibrillator with pads being peeled off

The Defibrillators made available to the public provide clear, audible and visual instructions for all steps which need to be followed.


Once the sticky pads (containing the electrodes) have been applied to the patients chest it will automatically analyse the body every two minutes and instruct the user when to shock. This is done by pressing a button which will clearly light up. The device will not allow you to shock, if it's not appropriate. It will also provide you instructions on when and how to adminster chest compressions to keep the blood flowing.


In essence, you cannot make a mistake, as the machine will guide you.

If you have received training in CPR and the use of a Defibrillator, that spontaneity will increase somebody's chances of survival, as you will have conducted the rescue as effectively as possible.

We can provide free CPR and Defibrillator training to the public.

See how one of our Defibrillators saved a life

Bristol Live article detailing how a Defibs4Bristol defibrillator saved a life
An open Defibrillator

Why do we need more? 

To help someone who is in cardiac arrest survive, a Defibrillator needs to be found as quickly as possible. 

With immediate CPR and access to a Defibrillator, the chance of survival is maximised if used within 3-5 minutes of a cardiac arrest.

If there is no ambulance available then it relies upon bystanders to administer CPR and collect a Defibrillator. With Emergency Response target times of around 7-8 minutes, having a Defibrillator nearby could save a life.

How can I find a Defibrillator?

It is essential that you call 999 for help. If it is safe to do so, the Operator will direct you to an available Defibrillator in the immediate area.

Crucially, the Defibrillator must be close to the patient's location, otherwise, you may not be directed to it. 

The British Heart Foundation created a national database called 'The Circuit'. It displays the location of all public Defibrillators are in your local area. Please take a moment to check on their website via the following link: 

Defibrillator installed at BS3 Community Centre, Southville
An installed Defibrillator in Stockwood
An installed Defibrillator the Cotswold Community Centre
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We're currently fundraising for 3 new Defibrillators
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