Lifesaving equipment now in libraries, schools and leisure centres across the borough

22 February 2024

Southwark Council has delivered on its promise to install defibrillators in all twelve libraries and eight leisure centres across the borough. Additionally, all schools have also been offered an automated external defibrillator (AED), with 75 out of 90 schools having at least one defibrillator installed so far.

These devices are crucial in cases of sudden cardiac arrest, potentially saving lives in critical situations. With over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring across the UK annually and survival rates at less than one in ten, access to these life-saving devices can significantly improve emergency outcomes.

The defibrillators, which provide clear step-by-step voice instructions, can be used without prior training. They check a person’s heart rhythm and administer a shock only if need. Users cannot accidentally shock themselves or others. In an emergency, the first step is to call 999, and an operator will provide guidance on using the defibrillator.

Defibrillators in Southwark

Defibrillators are already available at various locations across Southwark, including local schools, local underground and railway stations, large offices and commercial buildings (Southwark Council HQ) and sports clubs and leisure centres.

Leader of Southwark Council, Councillor Kieron Williams, said: “We are delighted to have fulfilled our commitment to install defibrillators across public spaces in Southwark.

“Outside of hospitals, there are more than 30,000 cardiac arrests across the UK every year, but less than one in ten people survive. Defibrillators are key to improving this statistic.

“We have defibrillators in many of our schools, across our train stations, on our streets, and now in all 12 of our Libraries. Seven of our Library defibrillators are also available 24 hours a day”.

Councillor Evelyn Akoto, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:Our defibrillators are designed to be used by anybody – with no need for training.

“The first thing to do if you believe somebody is suffering from a cardiac arrest is to dial 999, and the operator will help guide you. The quicker help is given, the greater the chance of survival.

“We are proud to have reached this milestone with our rollout to help improve the chances of survival from cardiac arrest across our borough”.

While the defibrillators installed do not require any training, the council is supporting frontline staff to access emergency first aid training through the British Heart Foundation.

For more information on where to find your nearest device, visit

Page last updated: 22 February 2024

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