Would you know what to do if faced with somebody experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest?
That’s the question Lou Costello, of First AED, wants people to think about and how they would react in a situation where every second counts.
A sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) when the heart stops beating abruptly due to an electrical malfunction, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is responsible for around 100,000 deaths a year in the UK. Anyone, regardless of his or her age or fitness level can suffer a SCA anywhere, at any time.
Even when there is access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) not many people know what to do and exactly what steps to take until further medical assistance arrives.
As Lou explains, the chance of successful defibrillation declines at a rate of around 10 percent for every minute of delay before an AED is attached to the casualty.
The first thing you must always do if you suspect someone is having a SCA is to call 999, says Lou, who is based in Chesterfield. There is an assumption that even if you have a defibrillator close to your property then some sort of AED superhero in a cape will materialise to deal with the emergency.
Sadly, this isn’t the case and the reality is that it may take the ambulance crew several crucial minutes to get to your location - meaning it could be down to the individual making the call to take control.
Secondly, once the call is made and while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, you should commence CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). If there is a defibrillator available, connect it to the casualty and follow the prompts.
In those scenarios, knowing exactly what to do and having the confidence to do it can be literally lifesaving.
Now Lou, who has years of experience working in the military and the police, is urging community groups, sports clubs and businesses to ensure that volunteers and staff know how to use an AED.
His training company First AED offers courses designed to teach people the skills required for dealing with a sudden cardiac arrest, including the use of a defibrillator and how to perform effective CPR.
The course lasts for between three to four hours and classes can be delivered at the organisation’s own premises, with delegates receiving a certificate upon successful completion. First AED can also source and install AEDs if required.
Meanwhile, Lou has implemented several measures to ensure that this vital training can take place during the COVID–19 pandemic. These include reducing class size, social distancing, temperature checks and single person drills until restrictions ease.
Lou continues to explain that less than one in ten people will survive a cardiac arrest outside of hospital care. Many of these people die unnecessarily due to no defibrillator immediately available or where there is, nobody trained or confident to use it.
Rather than a defibrillator being seen as a magical device that is locked away in a box, he wants more people to know what that device is for, how to gain access to it and how to use it if necessary.
First AED is currently offering a free 45-minute presentation to community groups, golf courses and businesses that may be interested in installing a defibrillator or would like to know more about AED and CPR training. To enquire about the presentation or our training course:
T: 07980 017010
E: email@example.com or visit firstaed.co.uk
Words & Images: Lou Costello