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Supporting Professionals Who Care

What To Do When Someone's Heart Stops

CALL 999 - Use the hands-free speaker if possible.

START CPR - There's a "How To" guide in our Education Zone.

The 999 Operator will tell you where the closest defibrillator is.

Send someone else to retrieve this. Don't leave the patient. Don't stop CPR.

If there isn't one nearby the ambulance will bring one with them.


  • Turn the defibrillator on. The defib will give you instructions on what to do.
  • Take the pads out and attach them to the patient, one on each side of the chest.
  • There will be an image to show you exactly where to place them.
  • The defib will start to monitor the patient's heart rhythm.
  • When prompted stop CPR. You may need to press the shock button, or it may be automatic.
  • The defib will keep giving you instructions and may tell you to continue CPR.
  • If at any point the patient shows signs of life, stop CPR and put them in the recovery position.
  • The defib will continue to give instructions whilst monitoring the patient's heart. Continue with heart compressions.

*All information is sourced from St John Ambulance, British Heart Foundation and World Heart Federation