Research conducted by St John Ambulance Victoria* revealed that Victorians have a disturbingly low awareness of Defibrillators in the workplace. Considering the population spends majority of their time at work this is a major concern as the likelihood of an incident occurring during these hours is significantly high.
It was unveiled that 63 per cent of Victorian workers knew how Defibrillators worked but only half felt confident to use one in the case of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Although the devices are designed to be simple to use, we have found there is still a strong sense of hesitation when it comes to using the life-saving machines.
Defibrillators aren’t only a sensible idea in the workplace, they could be needed and are often available when you are out enjoying your day to day life. Some places you might find a Defibrillator include shopping centres, sporting clubs, schools, community centres and anywhere people gather together. But simply having them available is not enough – they must be used when tragedy strikes. Being confident using a Defibrillator will mean you know when, where and how to use one in a cardiac emergency.
Defibrillators are designed to re-regulate the heartbeat after a person suffers a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. There is a common confusion among untrained members of the community about the difference between Sudden Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack, in reality the only similarity is that both health emergencies involve the heart. A cardiac arrest is caused by an irregularity in the electrical activity in the hearts ventricular muscle, commonly known as ‘fibrillation’. When fibrillation occurs the heart is unable to effectively pump blood around the body which then prompts the heart to go into cardiac arrest.
You will know when to use a Defibrillator if:
Beyond these signs, don’t delay treatment. Each minute without Defibrillation decreases chances of survival by 10%.
When a person suffers a Sudden Cardiac Arrest you must first provide CPR to circulate blood and ensure the body remains oxygenated and then apply a Defibrillator as soon as possible. The electrical shock from the Defibrillator is the only method a First Aider can use to stop fibrillation and return the heart beat to its healthy rhythm.
Automated External Defibrillators are designed for everyday people with little or no training. Depending on the brand of the Defibrillator it may provide verbal, visual or written prompts on how to use the device. The Philips HeartStart HS1 provides step-by-step verbal clarification on what to do in the case of a cardiac emergency. The Philips HeartStart HS1 will prompt you as follows:
There are many myths surrounding the use of Defibrillators but the most important things to know before you use one are:
Sometimes in life we feel invincible and that everyone around us is too, but the truth is that Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone. Yes the elderly are at risk but they aren’t the only ones, it might be a parent, sibling, friend, colleague, teammate or stranger on the street that goes into cardiac arrest when you’re the only one nearby.
In that instant, you’ll be glad you know how to respond. Your self-assurance will mean minimal delay in response time which will directly boost the chance of survival by up to 70 per cent if you provide CPR and Defibrillation.