Do Public Places Need Defibrillators (AEDs and PADs)?

Public spaces, such as shopping centres, recreation grounds, community centres and high streets, see hundreds of people a day passing through. With large numbers of people taking part in the huge variety of activities that happen in public places, the need for AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) is paramount.

Less than 1 in 10 people in the UK survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to the British Heart Foundation. Access to PADs (Public Access Defibrillators) means that patients suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can be treated, reducing the risk the risk of death.

What is a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD)?

A PAD is simply an AED that is accessible, commonly without any kind of restriction, to the public. If, when opened, a box containing an AED sets off an alarm to alert the emergency services, then this would be considered a PAD.

This is a simple and easy way of providing publicly accessible defibrillators. Across the country, there are thousands of PADs, all of which are easily accessible, 24/7, 365 to civilians.

Do All Public Spaces Have Defibrillators (AEDs)?

Many public spaces will have AEDs, but there is often sporadic coverage. It greatly depends on the type of location, number of people who pass through, and whether the area has can apply for a grant or is required to purchase one themselves.

If a public space does have a defibrillator, then it will be listed with the emergency services to ensure that in the case of SCA, a bystander can help to save a life. This way, when you ring 999 and report a cardiac arrest, the call handler will be able to tell you where your nearest AED is, and how to access it.

Are Public Spaces Legally Required to Have Defibrillators (AEDs)?

No, there is no legal requirement for public spaces to have an AED. However, many choose to, as there could be a risk of being sued for lack of due care. This is very slim, and no successful cases have been brought yet.  

As public spaces are regularly accessed by a wide range of people of all ages and health needs, having at least one AED is always advised, as it could prevent someone dying from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). People of all ages have SCA, and it can happen at any point, so providing access to an AED is the best way to be prepared.

Where Are Defibrillators Located in Public Spaces?

As public spaces cover a wide variety of locations, from community grounds to shopping centres, location and installation will vary. However, as they all AEDs are required to be publicly accessible, it’s imperative a well-signed, and well-lit AED cabinet is used to ensure that anyone can find it easily. It is recommended that an AED should be within just a 90 second brisk pace from anywhere. In light of this, it’s important that you consider whether just one AED is enough, or if multiples are required.

Funding for AEDs in Public Places

Unless your public place is governed by a charitable trust, there is often no funding available to install AEDs. Sometimes local authorities will commit to installing a certain number of AEDs within the community, and some public places may have one installed under these conditions. If the public space is owned by a business, however, then they will be expected to fund one.

AEDs in Public Places FAQs

Can Anyone Use a Defibrillator in a Public Place?

Yes, anyone can use AEDs in public places. Often called Public Access or Publicly Accessible Defibrillators, PADs are specifically created to be used by anyone without any prior training.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Defibrillator?

If the public space you plan to put an AED in normally requires public planning for changes, then you may want to consult your local authority. However, AEDs are deemed as ‘de minimis’ in planning terms, meaning they do not need approval to be installed.

Speak to Aero Healthcare for Your Defibrillator Needs

Aero Healthcare are the UK Master Distributor for HeartSine Technologies Samaritan Defibrillators, the only defibrillators manufactured in the United Kingdom. We are able to supply not only defibrillators, but wall cabinets and other healthcare accessories for your public space too.

Speak to us today, and we can advise on the best AED for your public place.