Defibrillators

How to use a defibrillator

Call 999/112 for an ambulance, and give the emergency operator the number of the defibrillator written on the cabinet. The ambulance service will have the code to open the defibrillator cabinet. 

  • If you're on your own use the hands-free speaker on a phone so you can start CPR while speaking to ambulance control.
  • Do not leave a casualty to look for a defibrillator yourself, the ambulance will bring one.
  1. After performing a primary survey and you find someone is unresponsive and not breathing normally, ask a helper to call 999 or 112 for emergency help while you start CPR. Ask a helper to find and bring a defibrillator, if available.

    • If you're on your own use the hands-free speaker on a phone so you can start CPR while speaking to ambulance control.
    • Do not leave a casualty to look for a defibrillator yourself, the ambulance will bring one.

  2. When the helper returns with a defibrillator, ask for it to be switched on and to take the pads out, while you continue CPR. They should remove or cut through clothing to get to the casualty's bare chest. They also need to wipe away any sweat. The defibrillator will give you voice prompts on what to do.

  3. Using a defibrillator - attach pads

    They should attach the pads to the casualty’s chest, by removing the backing paper. Apply the pads in the positions shown.

    • The first pad should be on the upper right side below the collar bone.
    • The second pad should be on the casualty’s left side below the armpit.
  4. Using a defibrillator - follow visual and verbal prompts

    The defibrillator will analyse the heart’s rhythm. Stop CPR and make sure no one is touching the casualty. It will then give a series of visual and verbal prompts that should be followed.

    • If the defibrillator tells you that a shock is needed, tell people to stand back. The defibrillator will tell you when to press the shock button. After the shock has been given the defibrillator will tell you to continue CPR for two minutes before it re-analyses.
    • If the defibrillator tells you that no shock is needed continue CPR for two minutes before the defibrillator re-analyses.
  5. Using a defibrillator - if casualty shows signs of responsiveness, put them

    If the casualty shows signs of becoming responsive, such as coughing, opening eyes or speaking, and starts to breathe normally, put them in the recovery position. Leave the defibrillator attached. Monitor their level of response and prepare to give CPR again if necessary.


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