Lack of defibrillators in hospitality industry raises concerns

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Unreasoned fears: Thirty-nine per cent of hotel, pub and restaurant employees said they would not use a defibrillator under any circumstances
Unreasoned fears: Thirty-nine per cent of hotel, pub and restaurant employees said they would not use a defibrillator under any circumstances
The vast majority of British hospitality businesses do not have a defibrillator, despite the impact the device has on cardiac arrest survival rates, according to a recent report.

The report, by defibrillator manufacturer DOC UK, found that just 12 per cent of hospitality businesses have the lifesaving equipment, compared to an average of 15 per cent across all industries.

Worryingly, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of those businesses that did have a defibrillator did not have the confidence to use it or had forgotten how to use one. And 16 per cent of employees don't even know what it is used for.

“The hospitality industry has huge numbers of the public coming through its doors every day, many of whom may have pre-existing heart conditions,” said DOC UK’s managing director Vincent Mathieu. “As such, hotels, pubs and restaurants carry a higher risk of someone having a heart attack on their premises than usual, so it is vital that companies are prepared.

“In the US, for example, defibrillators are common in hotels, and many tour operators will not book into facilities that are not equipped with one.”

Train in vein?

Sixty-nine per cent of the survey’s respondents expressed worries about accidentally electrocuting a casualty or being held liable if something went wrong - despite the fact that defibrillators will only work on someone suffering a genuine cardiac arrest, and that there have been no known instances of someone being sued for attempting to defibrillate a casualty.

Moreover, 39 per cent of hotel, pub and restaurant employees said they would not use a defibrillator under any circumstances.

”Of course, buying a defibrillator is not enough,” added Mathieu. “Of all UK industries, only mining has a higher proportion of people who say they wouldn’t use a defibrillator if they saw someone having a heart attack.

“The solution to this is education, and lowering people’s fears – this latter point is why DOC defibrillators have a remote connection to health professionals who will talk the user through the defibrillation process.”

DOC UK, a trading arm for Butler Safe Technologies UK Ltd designs, manufactures and distributes automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for the British market. For more details, visit​.

First aid provision

The survey comes a month after Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne told BigHospitality he thinks many hospitality businesses across the UK have ‘a serious lack of training and knowledge’ when it comes to first aid provision, after the Dragons’ Den star experienced his own emergency last year.

Having suffered severe chest pains while working at his head office last September, Bannatyne is backing a St John Ambulance campaign to encourage workplaces to train more of their employees to save a life.


Does your business have a defibrillator, and would your staff know how to use one?

  • YES

  • NO

  • We have a defibrillator but my staff aren't trained to use it


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There's no excuse not to have an AED handy

Posted by MMH,

AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) should, indeed, be in every restaurant, every school, every business, and every public place - but people haven't clued in to the fact that they aren't enormous, scary expensive hospital devices. These are simple-to-use, efficient lifesaving devices that instruct the user. While CPR & AED training certainly makes their use more efficacious, it is not necessarily required as the devices walk the rescuer through the process with audio and visual instructions.

More than ever, too, AEDs are easy to obtain, and funding is available even to private businesses and individuals (not just organizations) to obtain them.

Consider the National AED Grant program at - they provide funding assistance for getting AEDS. Their program is described as -

An AED in every Home…
An AED in every Business…
An AED in every Public Place…

Our Goal: An AED wherever tragedy may strike.

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Posted by Ross Andrew,

This article is a serious cause for concern if only 12% of your industry have them, but the article itself also raises concerns.

Health Education providers supply & train all types of industry to use defibrillators (AED's). They are not the complex type shown in your picture.

You do not need expensive packages that require you to go through an additional operator before reaching 999 as suggested in this article. This would cause an unacceptable delay before the ambulance service is aware and could cost a life.

This article gives the impression that they are complicated to use and would of course cause concern, they are so easy to use please don't waste time and money on an unnecessarily complex package.

Simply switch the AED on and it tells you what to do they are so easy you can use them without training, when you call 999 the ambulance control staff will also assist you to use it. You can save a life without delay, you can increase the chance of survival from 5% to over 70%.

If managers don't want to spend the money on saving customers lives, just think it could be you that needs one.

There are health education businesses around the UK who can provide, install and train you and your staff to use these. Typical cost would be £1500 to supply an AED and train up to 12 staff to save lives.

Come on lets improve these figures.

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