You see a person clutch their chest, lose all colour in their face, and suddenly fall to the ground, unconscious while displaying no signs of life. The signs mimic that of someone suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). You know CPR, but where’s the closest defibrillator?
Reducing the time it takes to locate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is key. If an AED is applied to a sudden cardiac arrest victim within the first minute of collapse, their chance of survival is 90%. For every minute that passes, their chance of survival drops 10%, leaving a 10 minute ‘window of opportunity’.
Where’s your nearest defib?
Not every defibrillators location is registered. The location varies in every town, but defibs are most common in large public places, such as:
- Hospitals – In the hospital wings or at the closest nursing station
- Community Centres – In the foyer
- Schools – The school office or staff room
- Business Centres – Ground level next to the evacuation plan
- Golf, Football, Soccer, Swimming, Hockey and Cricket Clubs – Behind the bar or in function rooms. These locations are often central to the club
- Gymnasiums – Hinged and clearly signed on the walls surrounding the gym equipment. Try the wall closest to the treadmills
- Shopping Malls/Centres – Central locations such as toilet isles, cinemas, or information desks/centres
- Public Library’s – In the foyer
- Zoo’s – front office and staff rooms.
Many of these locations are subject to operating hours. For example, you will only have access to the defibrillator located in the foyer of your public library during the library’s operating hours. This means the closet defib to you depends on the time of day. If you need access to a defib, think about where you are, if you are not sure, send someone else to retrieve a defibrillator while CPR is immediately administrated.
How does a Defib work?
Defibrillation works by delivering an electrical current through the heart muscle via the defibrillation pads. All electrical activity in the heart is temporarily ceased in the hope that when it returns it will be in a rhythm compatible with an effective pumping motion.
Survival rates are highest when defibrillation is delivered within the first few minutes of the time of collapse. Through greater defibrillator availability and knowledge of location, survival rates of SCA victims will improve.
Defibrillation in DRSABCD
D = Danger. Check for danger before approaching the causality. Things to check for may include live wires, exposed needles, or flammable liquids. Your safety ALWAYS comes first.
R = Response. Attempt to get a response from the causality by asking them to say their name or squeeze your hand.
S = Send for Help. If there is no response, now is the time to call 000. If there is other people present at the scene of accident, send someone to locate the nearest defibrillator.
A = Airway. Is the airway clear? Check to make sure the causality has nothing in their mouth, such as broken teeth, food or vomit.
B = Breathing. Once a clear airway is established, check to see if the causality is breathing.
C = Compressions. Commence chest compressions at a rate of 30 compressions to 2 breaths. You should be pushing at the depth of 1/3 of the victims chest and at a rate of 100 chest compressions per minute (this will be interrupted by administrating the breaths).
D = Defibrillator. Apply the defibrillator following the voice prompts. If emergency medical staff are there applying the defib, follow their instructions.
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