It's Idiot Proof - a follow up


I have to wonder. How can we be so far behind?

I am currently in the UK where I keep finding innovative ideas for placing 24/7 accessible AED’s.

This is a brief piece by way of a follow up to a post “It’s Idiot Proof, that thing they call a Defibrillator”on the 24th July 2018.

Yesterday I was out to lunch at a traditional local pub in the picturesque village of Aldbury in Hertfordshire.

My Ploughman’s lunch and accompanying Cider went down so much better with the knowledge of where the nearest defibrillator was located. As you can see from the picture a unique combination of preserving heritage and embracing advances in technology is possible.

Everybody in the village knows where the machine is located. The iconic home has not been vandalised, the machine serves its role within the community increasing the possibilities of survival for some poor unsuspecting soul from sudden cardiac arrest.



What’s this? Another one found in the town of Ashbourne.

This is a market town with cobbled streets a large number of pubs found on the edge of the Derbyshire Dales and the home of shrovetide an ancient annual football match with a difference. The defibrillator is on the busy main high street. The population is ever changing with a mixture of locals, tourists and passing traffic.


This is just a couple of examples of boxes placed in the community awaiting the next cardiac arrest. The importance of their availability is best demonstrated in a simple chain of events scenario.

A person collapses and the call is made to the emergency services. This may be a home emergency, a collapse in the street, an assault or some drunken escapade that has gone horribly wrong. The caller has a good telephone signal, their battery is charged and the ambulance call centre is relatively quiet so the call is answered straight away.

Two to three minutes are needed to complete the call and pass on relevant information as long as you know where you  are and maintain a modicum of composure during the call.



The information provided is then received by the ambulance crew. If they are at the ambulance station time is needed to get into their vehicle. After checking location details they are now in a position to leave the station. Hopefully the crew are local and were awaiting the call. On a busy evening that call may be delayed and the nearest vehicle can be a considerable distance away. Traffic is another challenge to be overcome creating yet more barriers to a person’s possible survival from the cardiac arrest.


Cardiac arrest is treatable. The above are just a few of the challenges ambulance services around the world face in getting to a cardiac arrest victim in time. It is generally accepted that for each minute a defibrillator is not available and in use the person’s survival chances falls by between 7 and 10% per minute.


CPR is an important skill that helps to buy time by keeping the body oxygenated until the arrival of the medical help. It is highly unlikely that a person receiving CPR will recover without the timely intervention of a defibrillator.


Knowing there is a local machine that is accessible changes things dramatically. The call is still made but the defibrillator is right there. Push a button it lights up and talks to you. Follow a few simple instructions, place some pads on the adult, child or infant and let the machine do it’s thing.



It will check to see if it can shock the person. What it is looking for is specific heart rhythms that are often present for a short period of time during a cardiac arrest. It will only work if it finds one of these rhythms. It’s Idiot Proof but may ask you for a bit more help. A button will light up and the machine will ask you to push it. Just make sure nobody is touching the person its connected to and do as requested. Continue to listen to the bossy machine and go with the flow.






I’m really interested to hear from people about their defibrillator experiences.

Do you know where your nearest accessible machine is located? Have you seen an innovative place where a defibrillator is available all day every day for community use?

Tell us your story here

If you would like to see more community based defibrillators please have a look at our program First Aid for All. Here you can learn all the skills completely FREE of charge that are needed to act in a medical emergency at home school or in the street.

We can then offer the opportunity to obtain a recognised qualification at a significantly lower price to the industry norm. Along with that we will support and donate to local community projects which include the purchasing of defibrillators that are publicly accessible 24/7.

I will keep in touch during my travels and post any more unique finds as I head to the South Coast.