What is a defibrillator?
A defibrillator is a device that can stop the heart from fibrillating. In many instances of cardiac arrest, the heart muscle is left twitching and not effectively beating. With a correctly delivered electric shock this fibrillating can be stopped, and normal sinus rhythm restored.
In many cases of out of hospital cardiac arrest a defibrillator will restore normal heartbeat and save a casualty’s life. This is why we train people on how to use them and we encourage organisations to find out where their nearest AED is or to buy and instal their own.
You don’t need training
That said, it’s important for you to know that you do not need training to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) nor do you ever need to have seen one before. They are simple to use, they have been carefully designed so that a passer-by, on discovering somebody who is not breathing can apply the defibrillator without any danger to themselves or the casualty. The automated external defibrillator pads are placed on the outside of the body (on bare skin), the machine automatically works out if a shock is needed and delivers the relevant shock. You do not need training to use an AED. You can do training if you choose and it is a part of all quality first aid training courses.
Installing an AED
Many organisations who own an AED have chosen to stuff them in a cupboard and forget about them. That is one option but we would prefer you installed it somewhere very visible and were proud to have it on show. Some of our clients have made the extra investment buying a ‘vandal proof’ cabinet and having it installed on the outside of their building where everyone can access it. It also needs an electrical supply to heat the cabinet preventing the battery from running low in cold weather.
Wherever you install it we would strongly recommend that you shout loud and proud not only to the people in your organisation but to your community that you have a defibrillator. Share it with the community and you may save even more lives. Some of our clients have clubbed together with other local businesses and organisations and even schools to raise enough money to buy the defibrillator and cabinet.
Register the device
Once the defibrillator is installed please make sure that the ambulance service know you have it that way if anybody nearby needs a defibrillator when they call 999 the ambulance service can direct them to yours. It might save a person’s life. As well as reporting your defibrillator to the ambulance service please consider letting Heartsafe UK know that you have 1 that way it will appear on their map of UK defibrillators. You can give opening times so it is not accessible when you are closed or if it’s installed outside it will show is green on the map and be accessible 24 hours.
Consider too whether the defibrillator may be used for a child or baby. Are you near to a school or residential area? Would it be worth buying child pads? We can advise you on the right machine for your location.
Gift a defib
We are delighted to have recently donated a lifesaving AED to local charity Unmasked Mental Health in Halifax. We were pleased to hear, when we called to give them the news that they had been about to buy one! They did some first aid training recently and had decided it was a great idea to have one on their premises. We’ll be delivering it to them shortly!
If anyone else is considering buying or renting (£1 per day) a defibrillator, please get in touch.