Life Saving Equipment
In August 2013, professional golfer Bernard Gallacher stood up to speak at a charity golf day in Aberdeen. Suddenly, he’d collapsed, had no pulse and wasn’t breathing.
Luckily for Bernard, a retired nurse administered cardiac massage and mouth to mouth resuscitation, before a defibrillator was found and used to keep him alive. Bernard was in a coma for a week, and awoke with no recollection of the event. He now campaigns for more defibrillators in public spaces, and for people to be trained in how to use them. It is estimated that 70,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospital every year, so having at least one qualified first aider in your business who could administer first aid or use a defibrillator while they are waiting for an ambulance may save a life.
Take Stock talked to Graham Ellis, training delivery manager at St John Ambulance to find out more.
What is a defibrillator?
An AED – or automated external defibrillator – is a device that gives the heart an electric shock when someone’s heart has stopped. Ambulances carry them on board, however using an AED in the minutes before an ambulance arrives can double someone’s chances of survival.
So time is critical?
Absolutely! Survival rates after a cardiac arrest are directly linked to time! Do nothing and a critical situation quickly becomes deadly with survival rates dropping by 10% every minute after the attack. However, when CPR and defibrillators are delivered quickly, the survival rate is between 50 and 70%.
Where can a business buy a defibrillator?
St John Ambulance sells a range of defibrillators priced from just under £1,000 + VAT. These are easy to use and have a battery life of around five years. Visit stjohnsupplies.co.uk to see the complete range and accessories.
Where can I find a defibrillator?
If your business hasn’t got a defibrillator then you can find one in a public place such as a shopping centre, train and bus stations, airports, offices and schools. AEDs come in a small portable plastic box and are stored in a noticeable green casing with a green sign above. If you look out for them, you’ll hopefully spot one. I’d also suggest people go online to find where their nearest AED is, and for businesses with an AED it is important to make sure it is listed on the UK database – it could save a life.
Where can someone get first aid training?
St John Ambulance runs courses in first aid and health and safety for companies, local authorities, and members of the public up and down the country. They have over 260 venues nationwide so you can enrol on a course nearby. Alternatively, if you have a group that needs training then they will come to you and deliver the training on your premises to save you time and money. And as a bare minimum, download the free St John Ambulance lifesaving app which includes information on CPR. Visit sja.org.uk for more information.
How do you use a defibrillator?
You can use an AED with no training. The machine analyses someone’s heart rhythm and then uses visual or voice prompts to guide you through each step. If you’re there when someone has a heart attack, the very first thing is to make sure someone calls an ambulance. Then, if an AED isn’t immediately available, give CPR, until someone brings you an AED. As soon as you’ve got an AED, switch it on. It will immediately start to give you a series of visual and verbal prompts informing you what you need to do. Follow the prompts until the ambulance arrives or someone with more experience than you can take over.