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Limited public ability to recognise and understand the universal sign for automated external defibrillators


Objective To study if the public is able to recognise and understand the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) sign for automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and to explore how national resuscitation councils have adopted the sign.

Methods A survey was conducted among travellers in an international airport serving 21 million passengers annually. Participants were asked to state the meaning of six international safety signs, one of which was the ILCOR AED sign. Also, all national resuscitation councils forming ILCOR were contacted to determine whether they recommend the ILCOR AED sign and the existence of national legislation regarding AED signage.

Results In total, 493 travellers (42 nationalities) were included. Correct identification of the ILCOR AED sign was achieved by 39% (95% CI 35% to 43%). Information on AED signage was obtained from 41 of 44 (93%) national resuscitation councils; 26 councils (63%) recommended the use of the ILCOR AED sign. In two countries, the ILCOR AED sign was mandatory by law.

Conclusions There is limited public recognition and understanding of the ILCOR AED sign. The ILCOR AED sign is not unanimously recommended by national resuscitation councils worldwide. Initiatives promoting public awareness of AEDs are warranted.

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