Stealing From the Hearts of the Nation: AED Theft

by Melissa McNamara in Defibrillator Articles | posted:

aed theft

How to Prevent AED Theft

Every week there are reports of missing or damaged Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), and the problem is only getting worse. AEDs are public medical devices designed for immediate first aid to sufferers of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SDA) – for more information on AEDs, check out our FAQ article here. Basically, they save lives… but people are stealing them.

What’s happening?

In 2017, 14 AEDs were stolen in the county of Kent alone. And it’s not just public AEDs; Ramsgate fell victim to an AED thieving spree at Thanet Ambulance Station, in which 7 ambulances were broken into. In early 2018, a theft was reported in Cowes after someone stole an AED outside a chiropractic clinic, a month later another theft occurred in a Huddersfield’s Greenhead Park. More instances have been reported across the UK as thefts of community AEDs continue to rise.

Aside from theft, there’s also the issue of vandalism. It’s hard to believe people would want to ruin such an important device, but these things happen all too often. Whether it’s being stripped for parts or being tampered with, AEDs that are out in the open are at risk of being damaged.

Different ambulance service spokespeople have reiterated the importance of AEDs in light of these cases of theft, stressing how survival rates could be increased by 70% if one is used in the first five minutes of cardiac arrest. A person’s chance of survival decreases by 10% every minute without CPR and defibrillation.


What can be done?

Vital public AEDs are easy pickings when left unlocked; so it’s important to strike a balance between easily accessible in emergencies, but also well protected.

  • A cabinet

A cabinet is the first thing you should consider when thinking about AED security – it will allow you to keep the AED accessible, visible but safe.

At Direct365, we offer different colour options, most of which feature a transparent plastic window so that AED is always in view for those who need it, but also protected against damage. Most of our AEDs come with bundle options that include cabinets, but if you already have an AED then we offer a range of protective units suitable for all types of defibrillators.

  • Alarm or no alarm?

You can get a cabinet without an alarm, but this would be a basic house to store and display your AED rather than a secured protective box. For the small price difference, it’s well worth getting better security features. A sound-alarmed cabinet will be better at deterring thieves and vandals.

At Direct365, we have cabinets with a choice of extra safekeeping features, like strobe light alarms and keypad locks.

  • Reputable sellers

There have been instances of stolen AEDs and spare parts being sold on sites like eBay. Thieves may use independent selling sites to make money on stolen goods, so remember when purchasing an AED to get it from a reputable source. Official providers like Direct365 will ensure you get a brand new AED, including warranty and maintenance options, unlike the uncertain “used” purchases you might find elsewhere.

aed cabinet

Defibrillators aren’t easily replaced. In some cases money is raised from donations, charities or council support, otherwise businesses invest their own money into providing this vital piece of medical equipment. Imagine making that investment, only for it to be robbed from you. People taking or breaking AEDs are putting lives at risk – you can help to stop this by investing in an alarmed cabinet and only purchasing from trustworthy suppliers.

Browse our range of competitive AED products here!