Sudden cardiac arrest and automated external defibrillators
Each year, 135,000 people in the UK die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The condition can strike anyone at any time – young or old; fit or not. That’s more than breast cancer, lung cancer and AIDS combined. In 2012, the high profile experience of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba helped bring this to the public attention – and the life-saving value of an AED.
It is estimated that 85% of sudden cardiac arrest victims could be saved by rapid access to an AED. For every minute a patient is delayed in receiving defibrillation – their chances of survival drop by 10%.
All emergency frontline ambulances are equipped with defibrillators and are manned by staff trained to use them. But even though they’re likely to provide the best first response to an emergency, time is of the essence when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. So the need for volunteers to be trained to use these vital machines couldn’t be greater.
What is an AED?
Modern portable Automated External Defibrillators (AED) have made defibrillation a much simpler process than in the past, and only basic training is needed to use them effectively. They’re designed to be used by members of the public, and are very effective at guiding the operator through the process of administering a shock. They are widely available, safe and easy to use, and won’t allow a shock to be given to a victim who doesn’t need one.
Wem Rural Responders
Following appeals for volunteers a small number of residents came forward and Wem Rural Responders were born!
In September 2013, at two training sessions provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service, volunteers were shown how to use the AEDs. Although there are some simple rules to follow, it is not a difficult task to help save a life in the event of a cardiac arrest. The Wem Rural AED unit is located at Robinson and Young’s garage and the Wem Town AED at Wem Co-Op. We are very grateful for the continued help and encouragement from WMAS, Myddle Heartbeat and Clun Valley AED, as well as funding from Shropshire Community Council, Shropshire Council through the Local Joint Committee and The Wemian.
It is hoped that a further unit can be placed in the northern area of Wem Rural (e.g. Edstaston) but this would require more funding, and more volunteers.
Although a number of volunteers have al ready come forward, more responders are needed for both regions. More (FREE) training is planned and even if you can only spare a small amount of time you will be welcome and could quite easily make a difference to someone’s (and their family and friends’) life.
For more information contact :
Len Staines on 01939 234415 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How will the volunteers know when to take action?
In an emergency situation, the public will continue to ring 999 and ask for an ambulance in the normal way. West Midlands Ambulance Service will despatch an ambulance / paramedic as usual. There is no change to this process.
West Midlands Ambulance Service will recognise that a Public Access AED is situated in the area, and simultaneously contact the volunteers for a response. This can be done in a number of ways – the voluntary group will agree which system will work best for it.
The volunteer(s) will proceed to the AED, enter the PIN code, remove the AED from the enclosure – and go to the victim to render assistance until the ambulance crew arrive.
How will the volunteers be trained?
West Midlands Ambulance Service has kindly agreed to provide training (which will include CPR) to all volunteers without charge.
The training sessions can be arranged on a Saturday morning – and at 6 week intervals if required for refreshers and new recruits.