Do you know what this sign means?

Old style defibrillator sign.

Old style defibrillator sign.

You might still see a few of them around. It used to be the locator sign for an AED, or automated external defibrillator, and it literally saves lives.


An AED allows members of the public to administer defibrillation to someone suffering a cardiac arrest before the emergency services arrive.


But research showed that the sign above wasn’t very clear, and not enough people understood either what it signified or how they could use an AED. So in a bid to improve public awareness and increase the number of people who survive an ‘out-of-hospital’ cardiac arrest, the Resuscitation Council has approved a new universal sign.


Changes include:


  • The lightning bolt icon has been replaced by a stylised ECG heart trace.
  • The description now reads “Defibrillator – Heart Restarter”.
  • A person has been added showing where the defibrillator pads should be placed.


The new design has been rigorously tested and approved by the Health & Safety Executive. Respondents to a survey confirmed they would be far more likely to recognise and understand the new sign.

New AED defibrillator sign.

New defibrillator signage.


What do you think of the new sign? Hopefully it will become a recognisable symbol around the UK and encourage more members of the public to use the AED located there. This moving video reinforces the importance of having AEDs installed in the community and tells the story of how lives are being saved every day.


Don’t forget these 4 crucial tips:


  1. AED stands for automated external defibrillator, a device that can restart a heart and save a person’s life.
  2. You can use it on an unconscious person who is not breathing normally.
  3. Anyone can use an AED – you don’t need prior medical or first-aid training.
  4. An AED is very easy to use – just follow the instructions.

To learn more about CPR and defibrillation, register for one of our first aid courses and gain the knowledge and confidence to respond in an emergency  

If you need any more advice about AEDs or would like to install one in your community, contact Heartsafe