HEALTH: How to use a defibrillator!

Following on from our recent piece about defibrillators in Halifax, here’s a more comprehensive guide to these essential pieces of equipment and how we should all be prepared to use one!

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). They are increasingly being installed in public places and at public buildings as they are recognised to be life-savers. New defibrillators have recently been installed in Halifax in the Woolshops by Marks and Spencers and outside Harveys.

What is SCA?

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life.

Can I Use An AED?

AEDs can be operated by untrained members of the public. almost anyone can operate one as the unit provides both written and spoken instructions. The aim of the AED is to keep a patient alive long enough for trained emergency personnel to arrive and take over. See the really useful video below:

So we all have duty to get to know where our local AEDs are located an, as you might expect, there’s a useful website that shows the locations of AEDs – www.heartsafe.org.uk/AED-Locations

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