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A message from the trustees of the Princes Risborough Rural Community Defibrillator Group.
It has been several years since the Public Access Defibrillators were installed in the Princes Risborough area. Many will be aware of them but have not always thought about how you may have to use one in a time of critical emergency. We tend to regard defibrillators in a similar way to life belts at the seafront, happy to see them but never seen them used.
Heart failure can strike anybody at any time so it is important that any help the patient needs is available quickly and helpers are able to access it. There is a difference between a heart attack (patient feels pain in chest and possibly down left arm) and cardiac arrest (patient feels nothing and is completely unresponsive).
A cardiac arrest is a very time critical for a potential good outcome.
So, what do in the case of a Cardiac Emergency?
1. Assess whether the patient is breathing ie no breathes in 10 seconds. If the patient is not breathing treat as a cardiac arrest: immediate treatment is essential.
2. Ring 999 ask for an Ambulance and tell the Ambulance Service that the patient is not breathing.
3. If only one person is present, they should start CPR straightaway, as instructed by the Ambulance service. If a second person is available, they should fetch the defibrillator as swiftly as possible: the ambulance service will give directions to the nearest one, and, if necessary, inform the collector of the access code. Timely CPR is very important and keeps feeding blood to the brain when the heart has stopped. Stay on the line, put the phone on speaker, and the Ambulance Service (and the defibrillator) will provide verbal instructions as appropriate for the situation.
4. Don’t stop CPR or follow verbal instructions from the defibrillator. Keep going until the Ambulance Service arrives and takes over. They may ask you to carry on CPR until they have their defibrillator ready and attached to the patient.
Please note that it would be helpful to familiarise yourself with your local locations as you could be called to act at any time. And please do not open the cabinet or interfere with the defibrillator unless required for a cardiac arrest.