Reality Shock: The need for a Community Defibrillator

Written by Sue Herbert (Registered Nurse)

The Parish Council, together with the Fisherman’s Rest and the Parish Project Group, is in the process of raising funds to purchase a community defibrillator that will be publicly accessible for anyone to use. Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are used to treat a sudden cardiac arrest (heart attack) by using electrical pulses to shock the heart into a normal rhythm, allowing it to pump again and restoring circulation to vital organs.

You do not need to be trained or have a medical background to use the AED. They are designed to be used by anyone who picks them up, so are safe and will not shock unless needed. Once switched on, voice commands and screen messages guide you through the process step by step, from applying the pads, to administering the shock and continuing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

With around 60,000 heart attacks occurring outside of hospitals each year, every minute counts. UK resuscitation guidelines advise an AED should be available wherever medical treatment is more than 5 minutes away. Living in a rural location has its benefits, but the speed of arrival of an ambulance is not one of these.

Every minute without CPR and Defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10%

AEDs are already available in most public places, such as airports, schools, shopping centres and, notably, many villages. In fact, they will one day be as common as first aid boxes as they are so effective. They are battery operated, portable and self-maintaining.

Lives are saved every day with these AEDs and the Parish Council is trying to ensure that, as a community, we are prepared for the unexpected, because this defibrillator may save your life, or the life of someone you love the most. Hopefully, people will support this initiative, through events such as the regular Quiz Nights at the Fisherman’s Rest and the talk by Adam Hart Davis in the Village Hall on 15th November, and the fundraising will prove successful, so that before long we will have our own community defibrillator.