What is the circuit?
The Circuit is the national defibrillator network which maps defibrillators across the UK, connecting them directly and automatically to each ambulance service.
Why should I register my defibrillator?
There are an estimated 100,000 defibrillators across the UK, however tens of thousands of these are unknown to ambulance and emergency services. Once located and registered, emergency services can direct bystanders to their nearest defibrillator and increase a person's chance of survival.
In the future, The Circuit will also be able to analyse location data and identify where more defibrillators are needed – therefore saving more lives.
Give your defibrillator its best chance of saving a life - put your defibrillator on the map.
What information do I need to register my defibrillator?
Registering your defibrillator is easy, all you need to have at hand is:
- The brand, model and serial number of your defibrillator
- The specific location of your defibrillator and any access details, i.e. times when the defibrillator is accessible, if its accessible to the public or in a restricted area, if its in a locked cabinet - the code to access it
- The status of your defibrillator - when it was last checked, the pad expiry date and if you also have paediatric pads.
Can I register multiple defibrillators?
Does my defibrillator have to be available 24/7 to register it?
What if I've already registered with my local ambulance service?
The Circuit is working with ambulance services across the UK so they will be able to access essential information about defibrillator locations from one centralised database. Previously, defibrillators were all registered with the local ambulance service who had separate databases.
If your defibrillator is already registered with the ambulance service, you will still need to register on The Circuit to ‘claim it’. This is important so that your defibrillator can continue to be used by ambulance services in an emergency.
When registering your defibrillator, you will be asked to enter your address and once selected, you will see a list of defibrillators on the Circuit in your area. If you have previously registered your device with the ambulance service, it will appear on this list and you can select it to 'claim it'. This will auto-populate all fields with the information you have provided to the ambulance service previously. We recommend you review this information to ensure it's up to date.
What communication will I receive from the Circuit regarding my registered defibrillator?
As a defibrillator guardian, you are responsible for keeping the information about your defibrillator on The Circuit up to date, including access hours, location and status of your defibrillator. To help with this, The Circuit will send reminders every 90 days to inspect your defibrillator and update the status of your defibrillator.
When you register your defibrillator, you are asked to enter the pad expiry dates. You will receive a reminder email when your pads are due to expire so that you can replace them. Once you have replaced the pads you can then update the pad expiry date for your device on The Circuit.
You will receive an email to inform you when your defibrillator has been deployed by the ambulance service in an emergency. Please note, the device may not actually have been used, but you will still be required to check it in person and make it emergency ready again.
For more information about defibrillator maintenance, read our guide and use our checklist to help you perform your inspections. If you need replacement pads or batteries, browse our range of defibrillator consumables.
Can I see where my nearest defibrillator is / where defibrillators are located across the country?
How can I tell if a request to use my defibrillator is genuine?
By signing up to The Circuit you are making a clear decision to share its lifesaving defibrillator in situations where a person’s life is in danger. During an emergency call, the ambulance service despatcher uses a simple series of questions to determine the most appropriate response and the level of urgency. If CPR is needed, they will instruct the caller on how to do this as well as asking if there is another bystander who can collect the nearest defibrillator. The ambulance service despatcher can see nearby defibrillators on their screen if they are registered on The Circuit. There is no practical way of informing your organisation, and more importantly your people on the ground where the defibrillator is located, that it is needed immediately to help save a life. The Circuit have virtually no examples of defibrillators being stolen although it is possible. Many organisations are more concerned that not making a defibrillator available in an emergency carries considerable reputational risk
By connecting your defibrillator to the Circuit you are ensuring that the ambulance services are aware of the defibrillator and its location. This may involve a member of the public being directed to that organisation to collect a defibrillator but it is just as, or possibly more likely, that the call would be originating from an employee, customer or contractor to your organisation and that the ambulance service despatcher would then be directing the caller to get a bystander to collect it for use inside your organisation. Joining The Circuit ensures that the investment in defibrillators isn’t wasted in the event that someone in that organisation needs it.
Will my defibrillators be insured by the Circuit in case of damage or loss?
What happens if the defibrillator isn’t operational? Am I liable?
No, however some organisations are expected to have appropriate equipment in place, and this may include defibrillators. This is to provide appropriate care for people they are responsible for, e.g., residents in a care home or patients in a doctors or dentist surgery. These organisations are expected to understand their liabilities and comply with relevant legislation. If an organisation is in doubt about their liabilities regarding defibrillator provision, they should obtain appropriate professional or legal advice.
Once connected, The Circuit will notify guardians when to check their defibrillators, when to replace pads and, when one of your defibrillators is deployed by the ambulance service. This enables the organisation to check that it has been returned, cleaned and any consumables replaced. This increases the likelihood that any obligation to your employees, customers and visitors can be met. If the defibrillator is not operational for a short period of time, e.g., if its damaged or the building is temporarily closed, you can update the status of your defibrillator on the Circuit and indicate the reason why. If the defibrillator is to be permanently unavailable, e.g., business closure, then you can decommission it and record the reason and it will no longer be live on The Circuit or the ambulance service system.
Will just the defibrillator be handed over or will I need to send an employee/first aider too?
When would I get my defibrillator back if used? How do I get it back?
In most cases defibrillators are returned to the place they were collected from by the person who originally retrieved it or another bystander. Occasionally if the defibrillator has been used either successfully or unsuccessfully, it may be retained by the ambulance service so they can retrieve important data relating to the patient treated. In these cases, the ambulance service will return it as quickly as possible and normally within a day or two.
If for any reason the defibrillator is not returned, the ambulance services and other appropriate agencies, such as the police, will be able to track down the owner through the details registered on the Circuit.
We would recommend that defibrillators are labelled with relevant contact details.
How often could I expect someone to use the defibrillator?
If it is used, how are pads and other consumables replaced? Is that my responsibility or will I be compensated?
The defibrillator and all its consumable parts remain the responsibility of the organisation. This includes replacing pads if they have been used or if they expire.
Need replacement pads or battery? Browse our range of defibrillator consumables
Who will come for the defibrillator? A member of the public or the emergency services?
Normally it will be a member of the public. Ambulance services have their own more capable defibrillators, but it can take precious time for them to respond. Organisations making their defibrillators available through the Circuit are helping bystanders and first aiders to provide a potentially lifesaving “shock” minutes before the ambulance service arrives. Each minute earlier that shock is delivered significantly increases the chances of a person surviving a cardiac arrest.
What are the legal ramifications if my defibrillator has been taken elsewhere and is then needed in the workplace?
Most organisations are not legally required to have a defibrillator. If they have one and it is deployed to save a life, the Circuit can help to ensure that its emergency ready and returned to being ready to deploy again in the shortest possible time. If in doubt, the company should seek specific professional or legal advice, however it is very unlikely that a normal organisation making its defibrillator available for community response would find itself legally challenged.
Explore our range of fully and semi-automatic defibrillators and everything you need to help you install and maintain your device.
Learn how to operate a defibrillator and how to perform effective CPR to give you the confidence to act quickly and effectively.
Read Paul's story to find out about the importance of knowing the location of your nearest defibrillator
I would ordinarily say it was just like any other Sunday morning. On this particular Sunday, my daughter Sophie, who was 22 at the time, was home with us from university and asked if I wanted a game of squash with her, her boyfriend Jake and a friend some university. I said “Yes, of course.”
For the last 15 minutes, I was playing with Sophie, while the two boys played on the next court over. I bent down to pick up the ball to serve – and that was it. No warning bells, I just went straight over with a sudden cardiac arrest.
Luckily, Sophie was familiar with first aid and CPR – and she didn’t panic. She ran next door, got one of the boys to call 999, and brought Jake back to where I was. With her help, he gave me CPR. She then ran off to find the club manager and a defibrillator. Amazingly, the club manager had been on a CPR refresher course just the week before, and so they continued to give me CPR and use the defibrillator to deliver shocks in the 10 minutes or so before the paramedics arrived and took over.
The first thing I knew was coming round in hospital later that day, with my wife on one side and daughter on the other, holding my hands.
It’s been a long road to recovery – both physically and mentally. But in February this year we celebrated my first ‘re-birthday’, and I’m now back to exercising and working, though I’ve changed my lifestyle to reduce stress.
I would encourage everyone to learn CPR and to be aware of their nearest defibrillator – because you never know when it might be you standing next to someone who needs your help.