(photo: )
02.08.2013, 12:00

Lack of life-saving defibrillators in facilities management industry, survey finds

Defibrillators often fall under the responsibility of facilities management teams but the industry’s lack of knowledge about the equipment is very worrying.


Despite heart disease being the UK’s biggest killer, less than a third (27 per cent) of people who work in the estates and facilities management industries report that their workplace has a heart defibrillator, according to a new survey by DOC UK.


Worse, of those defibrillators which do exist, many would go unused in a genuine emergency due to misplaced fears and lack of staff confidence.


The survey found that of respondents who reported that their workplace had a defibrillator, two-fifths (41 per cent) said they did not know how to use the equipment.  A majority (52 per cent) said they would be worried about using a defibrillator in an emergency because they would be worried about accidentally electrocuting a person who was in fact well, or being held liable if something went wrong. These stats are worrying as neither risk exists – there have been no recorded cases of someone being sued for using a defibrillator, and the equipment will only work on someone who is having a genuine cardiac arrest.


Vincent Mathieu, managing director of DOC UK, said: “Every six minutes, someone in the UK dies of a heart attack. As a result, defibrillators are hugely important safety devices. Given that defibrillators often fall under the responsibility of facilities management teams, the industry’s lack of knowledge about this equipment is very worrying.


“It’s not enough to have more defibrillators in workplaces – we need to ensure that those defibrillators are used in an emergency. This means training colleagues, or choosing a model such as DOC which has a remote link to a call centre where medically trained staff will guide the user through the defibrillation process. Whichever is chosen, the end result must be that more public buildings are made safe for cardiac emergencies.”


Stockley Park Estate Management Limited, who run Stockley Park in Uxbridge, have recently installed a portable defibrillator which travels in their security van. Park Director Alan Longshaw said: “We can have up to 7,500 people on the park. They are not our employees, but when they are in public areas they are on our property, and we feel an obligation to look after them. A defibrillator operated by our mobile team may give us the opportunity to save a life in an emergency. ”


David Simpson, National Sales Manager of the British Red Cross, said: "British companies spend more on teas and coffees than they do on health and safety, and we think this is wrong. With heart disease the UK's biggest killer, it's important that firms take their employees' heart health seriously, and this includes considering investing in defibrillators."

For more details, see

Article rating:

vote data

Leave a reply