Wednesday 12 October, 2022: St John welcomes the final ambulance service, London Ambulance Service (LAS), to The Circuit. This landmark moment means for the first time all 14 ambulance services across the UK are using the same defibrillator database.  

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK, but fewer than one in ten people survive. Immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival - however public access defibrillators are used in less than one in ten cases. 

Hoping to help improve cardiac arrest survival rates, our charity, British Heart Foundation, Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK), and Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), have come together to roll out a national defibrillator network, The Circuit. 

Its aim is to map all public access defibrillators, so when someone has a cardiac arrest, 999 call handlers can direct bystanders to the nearest registered defibrillator while they wait for the ambulance to arrive. Nearby defibrillators can now also be found more quickly and checked they’re ready for an emergency. 


Call to register defibs on the new database 
The Circuit recently celebrated a milestone of 50,000 mapped defibrillators – representing around half of the estimated 100,000 defibrillators in the UK currently registered. 

It’s estimated tens-of-thousands of defibrillators remain unknown to ambulance services, meaning they cannot direct bystanders in the event of a cardiac arrest. 

St John, BHF, RCUK, and AACE are urging anyone who looks after defibrillators in public places, communities or businesses, to register them on The Circuit.  

George Woods, Chief Business Officer at St John Ambulance, said: “In a cardiac arrest, every second counts. Using a defibrillator is crucial in those first moments and when used quickly, can increase survival rates by up to 70%. At St John we are dedicated to helping make sure more people have the confidence to use these devices in an emergency. Knowing where, or being directed to, a defibrillator via The Circuit, is vital to ensuring everyone has the best chance of survival.” 
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Seconds matter when someone has a cardiac arrest, and the difference between life and death could be knowing where the nearest defibrillator is. The Circuit allows 999 call handlers to find the nearest life-saving device in an emergency, which is why I’m so thrilled that every ambulance service in the UK now has access to this pioneering database. I have no doubt this will save lives.  
“But our work isn’t done. We think there are still tens of thousands of defibrillators which are essentially lost to ambulance services. We need everyone’s help to finish the job by making sure that your local defibrillators are registered on The Circuit.” 

Fenella Wrigley, Chief Medical Officer at London Ambulance Service, said: “If someone is in cardiac arrest, call 999 for an ambulance. Our call handler will guide you on how to perform chest compressions and tell you where to find the nearest defibrillator.  

“There are more than 7,500 public access defibrillators in London, and you don’t need training to use one. Once you turn it on, it will give clear instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads. The device checks the heart rhythm and will only tell you to shock if it is needed. You can't shock someone accidentally. Anyone can use a defibrillator; anyone can save a life.”  

It’s free to register your defibrillator onto The Circuit, and you only have to do it once. You can also register multiple defibrillators if you are the guardian to more than one. Visit TheCircuit.UK for more information or to register your defibrillator.