|Learn about Defibrillators
Back in February 2015, Dick Tracey
from the South Central Ambulance Service gave us a very informative talk about
defibrillators and their use. He began
by distinguishing heart attack from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). A heart attack is caused by a circulation
or plumbing problem of the heart, when one (or more) of the arteries delivering
blood to the heart is blocked. You do not necessarily die from this condition. In
the case of SCA, the heart has
stopped beating, the patient is unconscious and is technically already dead.
It is caused by an unexpected failure in the heart's ability to effectively
pump blood to the brain and around the body. It is usually caused by
life-threatening arrhythmias - abnormalities in the heart's electrical system. The
only definitive treatment for SCA is defibrillation - an electric current that
"shocks" the heart so that a normal rhythm may resume. This
"shock" must be delivered within minutes of the arrest to
successfully prevent death. Chances of survival reduce 7-10% each minute that
passes without Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) followed by defibrillation.
Dick went on to deliver some hard-hitting
statistics about incidents of (SCA), including:
The ambulance is
likely to be coming from some distance away, which is why defibrillator availability
is so crucial.
- 700,000 cases of
significant heart problems in the EU;
- 300,000 of these are in
- 100,000 people die from
SCA in the UK but 85% of these could have survived with early
- only 4-5% of SCA victims
can be saved by the ambulance service where no other first aid has been
A Public Access Defibrillator can be
used without any form of training. It is housed in a special external secured
cabinet, the code for which you will be given when you phone 999. The
defibrillator talks you, step by step, through the procedure and will not move
on until the previous step has been successfully executed. It will NOT deliver
a shock if the heart does not require it. After a demonstration, Dick opened up
the floor to a question and answer session, a summary of which is below.
However, if you missed that, or
would like to see a short defibrillator
demonstration session then come to the Pavilion on 9 May at 10:00. Please
contact us if you might be interested.
The previous Q&A session
included the following.
Q. Is there a risk of
liability for a member of the public using a defibrillator?
A. No-one has been sued to date.
N.B. The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act
passed into law on 12 February 2015. This Bill is intended to reassure people
that if they are acting for the benefit of society, intervening in an emergency
or demonstrating a generally responsible approach towards the safety of others
then, if something goes wrong and they are sued, the court will take full
account of the context of their actions.
Q. Is there adequate mobile phone coverage
in the area to call 999?
A. Provided one of the mobile network
providers has signal cover then, even if your own does not, you are still able
to make emergency calls.
P.S. Several audience members demonstrated that they had a signal, even if not
Q. What if there are a limited number of
people around when SCA occurs?
A. It is essential to call 999 immediately.
Therefore if you are alone, this should be done before commencing CPR. That
person must continue, regardless of not being able to access a defibrillator. If
a second person is available, one should commence CPR whilst the second dials
999 and then goes for the defibrillator.
Q. If you know that the person has a pace
maker, should you still use a defibrillator on them?
Thank you to everyone who has
donated so far. We are now in the lucky position of having bought TWO
defibrillators, plus their secure cabinets, which we plan to install once final
permissions have been given. We are continuing to fund raise with the intention
of putting the extra funds towards some subsidised first aid courses for the
community. Once we have planned these, we will let you know the details.
Meantime, you can learn more information about the defibrillator by clicking here:
As a reminder, you can donate
on-line via a link on www.stokerow.net. The
collection point for cheques and cash remains in Stoke Row Stores, where there
are spare donation forms.
Jo Lowe and Rita