Public Access Defibrillators

Scotland is committed to improving the response to, and survival rates after, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and you can play a vital role in helping save lives in your local community. To help someone who is in cardiac arrest effectively, a defibrillator needs to be found as quickly as possible.

A range of organisations, businesses, groups and communities across Scotland have already installed a defibrillator. Many make them publicly available and to the emergency services. Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) are key to strengthening community resilience to respond to a cardiac arrest.

PADs administer an electric shock to a person who is having a cardiac arrest. They are designed to be used by non-medical personnel to save lives. They provide audible instructions and sometimes visual prompts on a screen. A PAD will not allow a shock to be given unless it is needed, meaning it is extremely unlikely that it will do any harm to the person who has collapsed.

The council's public access defibrillators policy (PDF 89KB) only covers requests from community groups to install defibrillators on the outside of council owned buildings to provide 24/7 access. This is the preference of both the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and British Heart Foundation wherever possible.

PAD request process

  1. Identified need for a PAD by the community group.
  2. The community group should contact Scottish Ambulance Service for advice on the best type of PAD and most suitable location.
  3. Once suitable location is found, the community group should contact the building owner to get permission and discuss installation and costs.
  4. The community group supply the PAD with appropriate signage to confirm ownership and contact details.
  5. After installation, register the PAD with the national defibrillator network.
  6. Maintenance checks of the device are required to be carried out every 90 days.

View a flowchart of the PAD request process (PDF 96KB).

Purchasing and funding

The group will need to purchase the PAD. The British Heart Foundation makes funding available periodically in Scotland to support the part-funding of PADs for local communities.

The Scottish Ambulance Service also provide guidance for purchasing PADs (referred to as Automated External Defibrillators on their website), and they work with charitable organisations who may be able to help offer funding to contribute towards buying a PAD.

Community groups must also note that they will be responsible for all future maintenance and replacement of consumables such as pads and batteries.


To install the PAD you will need to get in touch with the owner of the building.

PADs cannot be installed on residential or listed buildings.

Private owned building

If the building is not council owned, then the community group should approach the owner of the building to request permission to site the PAD on their building. The community group will be required to check if planning permission is needed, depending on the type of building and location. Responsibility for installation costs and future electricity charges need to be agreed between the community group and hosting building owner.

Council owned building

If it is a council owned building, contact your local area office to discuss further. Assuming there are no issues identified, your area office will organise for a contractor to install it for you. There will be a charge for this. The cost will be between £300 to £400, but will vary at each site depending on the distance from an electrical supply and other site specific issues.

You will also be asked to sign a Minute of Agreement (PDF 91KB) which must be renewed every 3 years. This shows what you as the community group are responsible for and what the council is responsible for.

If the community group ceases to exist the council will liaise with other community groups to find out if another group is prepared to take on the community group’s obligations. In the event that no community group is prepared to take on the responsibility then the PAD will be removed.

If the building on which the PAD is installed stops operating as a council building, the parties will agree an alternative location and the council will install the PAD at its new location. This is subject to conclusion of an agreement between the council and the community group. The community group will be responsible for the costs of installation on the new building.

Registering your PAD

Once your PAD has been installed please register it on the national defibrillator network (The Circuit). This Circuit is linked to the ambulance service’s database and will make sure 999 callers can be directed to the nearest PAD, if one is identified locally. It is the responsibility of the PAD owner to make sure the location details are registered correctly, and contact information is kept up-to-date.

View defibrillators registered with SAS, by using the postcode search.