Along with several others, I was trained in the use of a defibrillator in Feniton Primary School on Sunday morning.
I have absolutely no medical background and regret to say that I’ve never even undertaken first aid training, but the session on Sunday was so simple that non-medics like me had nothing to fear.
Living in a rural community means that ambulance response times are much slower than in urban areas. South West Ambulance Service has a target to respond to 75% of calls within 8 minutes. Patients in rural areas will rarely get this level of service.
One of the initiatives to counter this is the roll-out of community defibrillators through charities such as HeartSWell (http://www.heartswell.org.uk/what-we-do/).
The statistics are scary.
In the United States, if you have a heart attack outside hospital, you have a 66% chance of survival in some states. In the UK, the national survival chance is 8%. Having trained community volunteers who can perform CPR before using the defibrillator to shock the heart will give the patient a much greater chance of survival while waiting for an ambulance to come and take over.
The defibrillator is easy to use, compact, portable and very effective. They are designed to be used by a non-medical layperson. The machine guides you through the process using verbal instructions and visual prompts. They are safe and will not allow a shock to be given unless the heart’s rhythm requires it.
So now, as a community, we need as many people as possible to undertake training in the use of CPR and the defibrillator. Feniton Primary School is delighted to organise more training sessions if there is a demand. Some of the older children in the school are being trained on:
19 May at 4 p.m.
and there are a few places left. Call the school on 01404 850303 to get on this course or register your interest in possible future courses.
It really is that simple … and this very short course could save a life …