In the UK there are currently at least 13 different signage types and designs being used for a defibrillator. Throughout the rest of Europe, this has pretty well standardised now on the ILCOR signage of a heart with a cross top right. Standardised signage means less confusion in a time dependent rescue, and helps people instantly recognise locations of equipment.
The HSE has recommended standard signage for fire, emergency exits, first aid, electrical safety, yet the plethora of signage for defibrillators makes this a potentially confusing area.
In international locations, such as airports, which have a statistically higher prevalence of OHSCA, you would think standard internationally recognisable signage is important. Yet at Heathrow, London’s premier gateway, there are multiple signage types, and also mostly hidden or poorly visible, causing potential delays in obtaining a defibrillator. This contrasts sharply with airports on the continent, such as Athens
In a study in November 2020, it was shown that most current defibrillator signage is non-compliant to standards. In addition, it was demonstrated that some popular signage was only recognisable by around 20% of the population compared to over 96% for the ILCOR signage (Study by CHT of 949 respondents).
“The study showed that the UK lags far behind other countries in defibrillator signage, and in a stressful situation, ease of recognition is important. The European Resuscitation Council has made positive statements about standardisation on the ILCOR signage to avoid such confusion, particularly in areas where there is international travel, such as airports, conference centres, and shipping”. Says Martin Fagan, National Secretary of CHT. “This is about saving lives”.
CHT would like to see all communities, councils and healthcare organisations to agree to use the International ILCOR signage for defibrillator placement.
ILCOR defibrillator signage:
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