Last week NHS Paramedic Ian Cross provided training in basic first aid and use of the defibrillator for our members.

As part of the NHS initiative for improving Defibrillator availability you will no doubt have seen that our own cabinet is up and running. This included an update of the procedures when faced with an emergency first aid incident. He brought along dummies to try expired air resuscitation and heart compression. His up to date model included lights to show how effective you were so gave a good guide on what you usually cannot see.

He went through how an emergency call is handled by the emergency services operator. How you could prepare for the call although the operator will quickly help you deal with the patient and decide if you need the defibrillator.

Why get a defibrillator? They need to be available for use quickly. Survival of a person who’s is suffering a heart attack reduces by 10% for each minute of delay.  A 4% survival rate in the 1980’s when defibrillators were rare has now become about 20%. With the increase in the number of defibrillators being available chances of survival increase. Figures are much better but still short of places like New York where 80% survival is achieved with availability of defibrillators being even more wide spread being in every public vehicle and taxi. Heathrow is top. A defibrillator every 100m means  and staff training has led to your chances of survival after a heart attack is over 90%.

With the aid of an activated defibrillator Ian finished by demonstrating it’s use. He showed us how and where to fit the pads; where to find all you need- scissors for cutting away clothing. Razor to prepare the area where the pad is to be stuck and a cloth to ensure the skin is dry so that the machine can work. He demonstrated how the machine will analyse the patient to see if a shock would help. If it does it then tells you what to do.

Hearing the machine talk to you was quite scary but it was helpful to actually run through the process before actually being faced with an actual emergency situation.

Let’s hope we never need to use it but if needed it’s there now!



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