Tesco becomes UK’s first supermarket to join defibrillator network that could save lives

Tesco has become the UK’s first supermarket to begin registering its 2190 defibrillators to a new national database that could improve cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK. It is the biggest single addition of defibrillators to the database so far.

The database, called The Circuit: The National Defibrillator Network, aims to map all public access defibrillators, allowing ambulance services to direct bystanders to the nearest registered defibrillator if they see somebody having a cardiac arrest.

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK, but fewer than one in 10 people survive. This is partly because defibrillators are used in less than 10 per cent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, with ambulance services often unaware of where they are located.

To help improve these stark survival rates, Tesco is in the process of registering its defibrillators in stores onto The Circuit and is installing hundreds more so that every Tesco store in the UK will have one. This means that if somebody is having a cardiac arrest in or around a Tesco store, the ambulance service will be able to direct 999 callers to the defibrillator which is registered on the database.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“We’re thrilled that Tesco are registering all their defibrillators on The Circuit – this could help save lives in the years to come. By ensuring defibrillators are visible to ambulance services in the ultimate medical emergency, Tesco is providing an invaluable service to communities across the UK.

“By registering their defibrillators on The Circuit, Tesco will be joining the fight to improve survival rates. Currently, less than 10% of people survive a cardiac arrest, and every minute without CPR and defibrillation can reduce the chances of survival by up to 10%, so every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest.

“We are now urging all organisations that own defibrillators, whether it’s just the one or several, to follow in Tesco’s footsteps by registering them on The Circuit. This simple action could save lives.”

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, said:

“At Tesco, we are passionate about the active role we play in our communities, and in helping our customers when they need us most. By supporting The Circuit and registering all of our defibrillators so emergency services know where the nearest one is, more lives could be saved.”

The Circuit has been developed by the BHF in partnership with Resuscitation Council UK, St John Ambulance, and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

Regional ambulance services have previously been able to locate defibrillators using their own regional databases. However, The Circuit is a pioneering database that maps defibrillators across the UK for the first time. This means that ambulance services will be able to direct bystanders to the closest defibrillator.

To ensure The Circuit achieves its ambitions, the founding health charities are urging all organisations with defibrillators to register them on the system. There are tens of thousands of defibrillators in locations unknown to the ambulance services, and the BHF has set a goal of seeing 70,000 new defibrillators registered before the end of the year.

Organisations can bulk upload all their defibrillators in one go. It’s free and quick and easy to do. For more information, please visit TheCircuit.UK

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