A defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is having a heart attack.

Defibrillators are normally located in workplaces and public spaces like airports, shopping centres, community centres, and train stations. These defibrillators are known as public access defibrillators (PADs) as anyone can use them. The defibrillator or the case it sits in may say ‘AED’ or ‘defibrillator’.

If you need a defibrillator in an emergency, the 999 emergency operator may be able to tell you where one is, so you can ask someone to get it. By performing CPR and using a defibrillator, you’ll give someone the best possible chance of survival, but there isn’t always a registered defibrillator close enough to help save the life of someone having a heart attack.

Registering defibrillators

If you have a defibrillator in your workplace, school or local community, don’t forget to register it with The Circuit national registration network so that ambulance dispatchers know it’s available to help save lives!

There are at least 3100 publicly accessible defibrillators in Yorkshire, each one capable of helping save the life of a person who has a heart attack. The problem is that people buy defibrillators with the best of intentions but do not always register them with Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Using The Circuit can change this.

It is essential that the Trust knows the locations of all defibrillators so that staff in the Emergency Operations Centre can direct 999 callers to them, should a patient suffer a heart attack nearby. At the moment, many defibrillators never get used because emergency services do not know where they are or how to access them. This can cost lives and that is why registering defibrillators with The Circuit is so vital.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service are now using The Circuit system, so set up your account on The Circuit, and register your defibrillator using the link below:


This is quick and easy to do – you’ll just need a few key details to hand such as information around the location and information about the defibrillator itself.

Once registered on The Circuit, the defibrillator is visible to NHS ambulance services including Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who can direct callers to its location so it can be used to help save lives. You can find out more by visiting: British Heart Foundation - National Defibrillator Network - The Circuit.

Currently, only Emergency Services are able to look up the location of all the defibrillators using The Circuit. Development of The Circuit is ongoing, with additional functionality to allow anyone to find defibrillators using The Circuit expected later in 2021. This will be through searchable maps on either a computer or smartphone.

You can find answers to more frequently asked questions about Circuit registering a defibrillator by visiting the St John Ambulance FAQs page.

Buying a defibrillator

If you are considering buying a defibrillator for your community, please contact the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Community Resilience Department in the first instance. You can email yas.aed@nhs.net or phone 0333 1300516.

The British Heart Foundation have information about writing a business case, arranging CPR training and keeping your defibrillator maintained so it’s ready to respond to a cardiac arrest for businesses, or about fundraising, where to put it and how to maintain it so it's always ready to save a life for local community groups and charities. You can contact the BHF for advice and information about getting a defibrillator.

At the moment, BHF are not running their part-funding scheme for PADs but they ask those interested to continue to check the relevant website (BHF - Apply for a public access defibrillator) for when they reopen the scheme to applications.

St John Ambulance offer an online guide for first-time buyers including a comparison chart of different makes and models.

Last updated: 22 October 2021 15:52:30

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