Defibrillators do save lives

Defibrillators do save lives

It is not uncommon for people to express the view that AEDs (also known as defibrillators) are difficult to operate. Some students enrolled in our first aid courses share this sentiment. However, these students are pleasantly surprised to discover that the training AEDs are surprisingly simple to operate, simply by following the instructions and listening to the machine.

They initially believed that only trained medical professionals could operate them, but quickly came to learn that anyone could do so.

We were recently demonstrating this point by coaching an 81-year-old man and a 4-year-old boy on how to use a training defibrillator. And guess what? They both performed CPR while using the training defibrillator on a manikin.

Defibrillators do save lives.

You have just got to press that GREEN button to fire it up

Simply press the green button to turn on the AED (defibrillator). The machine will then speak to you while it sets itself up, directing you to place the pads on the casualty’s body and requesting that you do not touch the casualty while it analyses the casualty’s heart.The AED (defibrillator) will then determine whether or not a shock is required.

That is all there is to it, and there is nothing difficult about using an AED. Just a machine telling you what to do.

If AEDs are so difficult to use, why are they in so many public places these days? I am sure you have seen them while going about your daily business.

You can find them in secure cabinets on the walls of shopping malls with a keypad to open them. I recently saw one in an old red telephone box that had been repurposed to hold a defibrillator so it could be used in a sleepy village in the Cotswolds.

I even found one on the outside wall of a funeral directors office, and now that did surprise me and did get me smiling too.

If a public AED gets registered with the national system, then the Ambulance Service will know where the nearest one is to a casualty if it is needed.

They will give you the location of the nearest one, and when you arrive at that location, you will be asked for the cabinet number or location, and they will give you the code to open the secure box.

Then you can retrieve the AED and the hygiene pack with it and take them back to where the casualty is.

We have included defibrillators (AEDs) in all courses since 2015 because it raises awareness that they save lives.

First aid courses for the workplace, such as the QNUK Level 3 Award in Emergency first aid at work (RQF) and the QNUK Level 3 Award in First aid at work course (RQF) have AED training included as standard, and this meets all HSE and UK Resuscitation Council guidelines.

We even have specialist 1/2-day courses on how to use them, and our QNUK Level 3 Award in Responding to Incidents with an AED (RQF) and our QNUK Level 2 Award in Basic Life Support (Adult & Child)  (RQF) have proven really popular with members of the public.

While it is true that a first responder would have the knowledge to provide the best possible CPR and YES, this would make a greater difference, if you do nothing, that person will most likely die or suffer severe disabilities for the rest of their life.

They can restart the heart… (WHAT….)

Another common misconception is that AEDs can restart hearts. In reality, AEDs stop the heart to allow it to restart and regain its natural rhythm, and the AED will monitor the heart and ONLY SHOCK again if necessary.

If an AED (defibrillator) is used within the first three minutes of someone having a Serious Cardiac Arrest (SCA), they have a 70% chance of survival; every minute wasted reduces that chance by 10%.

So early intervention with an AED is key for that person’s survival.

Can using one make a bad situation worse?…(NO it cannot)

You cannot make the situation any worse by using an AED; in fact, the AED will tell you if a shock is required or not. The AED will monitor the person’s heart and store the data on the machine so the ambulance crew can download it and send it to the hospital.

Where can I learn to use an AED?

First aid training providers throughout the country provide AED training as standard on first aid courses in the workplace, and many have standalone courses that last around ½ a day.

Defibrillator training has definitely increased with us over the last 5 years and many businesses today have defibrillators in their workplace because they realise the faster they can get a defibrillator to someone who requires it because this makes a BIG difference to that person’s outcome.

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