Make defibs accessible 24/7 to help increase survival rates across the UK, say national resus experts

A cardiac arrest is the ultimate medical emergency – where the heart suddenly stops beating.

Early defibrillation within 3–5 min of collapse can increase survival rates by as high as 50-70%, yet research shows access to this lifesaving device is lacking in many deprived areas of the UK, where there is a high incidence of cardiac arrest and low defibrillator provision.

Restart A Heart - an annual initiative led by Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK), in partnership with charitable organisations, the UK Ambulance Services and universities - aims to increase the number of people trained in CPR and defibrillation awareness, so that everyone has the confidence to step in and help save a life.

The Restart A Heart campaign begins in mid-October and continues throughout the month. Numerous events, both in person and online, will take place across the UK in schools, communities and workplaces.

This year, Restart A Heart is focusing on equal access to defibrillators. RCUK and partners are urging everyone looking after one – such as those in charge of pubs, sports clubs, community centres, churches and village halls – to make it accessible to the public 24/7, to give a person suffering a cardiac arrest the best chance of survival.

James Cant, CEO at RCUK says: "Guardians of defibs need to make their device as accessible as possible to local communities, to help increase survival rates."

A defibrillator is essential in increasing survival rates, yet 61% of people say they aren’t confident enough to use one.

A defibrillator tells you exactly what to do, no training is needed. If someone is having a cardiac arrest, it simply needs to be switched on and it will talk the person through each step – it’s like having an expert in the room.
James Cant, RCUK CEO

Adam Greenwood, Community Engagement Manager at St John Ambulance said: "In a cardiac arrest, every second counts. The quicker someone can use a defibrillator in this type of medical emergency, the higher their chances of survival. It's vital everyone has equal access to their nearest device so more lives can be saved.

“Our community advocates support people locally by helping them identify the location of their nearest defibrillator and equip them with the confidence to use one. I'd urge everyone to keep themselves and loved ones safe by learning first aid skills like CPR, so they could help save a life."

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Restart A Heart is a fantastic opportunity to pick up a new lifesaving skill. Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest, and we want everyone to have the confidence to do CPR and use a defibrillator in the ultimate medical emergency.

“Our free and innovative RevivR training tool can teach you the lifesaving skill of CPR and how to use a defibrillator in just 15 minutes. You could save a life, a loved one.”

For more information or to request an interview or case study please call Stella Hindle, Media and Campaigns Manager on 020 7391 0740 or email

  • Resuscitation Council UK, together with St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, UK Ambulance Services and other charitable organisations, are committed to ensuring that everyone has the skills to save a life. They are urging people to take part in the Restart A Heart campaign, to establish confident lifesavers across the UK – currently survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are less than one in ten.
  • It’s vital that Guardians of defibrillators ensure they are rescue ready and register their device on The Circuit. The Circuit is a network that ensures ambulance services can immediately direct bystanders to their nearest defibrillator, saving valuable time-
  • Resuscitation Council UK is saving lives by developing guidelines, influencing policy, delivering courses and supporting cutting-edge research. Through education, training and research, we’re working towards the day when everyone in the country has the skills they need to save a life.
  • Early defibrillation within 3–5 min of collapse can increase survival rates by as high as 50-70% - Gavin Perkins: Citing this study:
  • Recent data shows 61% of people aren’t confident enough to use a defib –
  • You can access lifesaving resources at / /