Defibrillators (or ‘defibs’ for short) are have been growing in popularity and for good reason, as having one close at hand can mean the difference between life and death.
Defibs have started to become common in larger strata and community schemes (particularly in pool/gym areas), however, we believe they should be common at any size scheme because of the concentration of residents and the absolute difference they can make in the event that someone has a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
Defibs have a very important role to play in the area of health and safety of those living in strata and community schemes as Sudden Cardiac Arrest is one the leading cause of death in Australia.
Having an accessible Defibrillator in your building can make the difference.
A Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a condition that occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops pumping. Each year, SCA strikes approximately 30,000 Australians.
Unfortunately, only around 6% survive, often because help cannot reach them in time. The average ambulance response time is between 9-14 minutes. SCA is not gender or age-specific!
Without defibrillation, for every minute that passes, the chance of survival is reduced by approx. 10%. Application of pads on patient within 180 seconds increase the survival rate to over 70%. With good CPR & a defibrillator up to approx. 90% survival rate.
Having an accessible defibrillator located in key common areas, that residents are able to access in the event that someone is having a cardio event can be the difference between life and death.
The following is a fact sheet that we prepared on a very important role of Defibs to play in the area of health and safety.
What are they
Defibrillation is a technique used in emergency medicine to terminate ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia.
It uses an electrical shock to reset the electrical state of the heart so that it may beat to a rhythm controlled by its own natural pacemaker cells. A defibrillator is a commonly used medical device which can deliver this shock.
A defibrillator delivers a set amount of electrical shock to the heart after it analyses the heart rhythm. It determines whether a shock is required to the heart via adhesive electrode pads attached to the person’s chest.
The shock delivered by a defibrillator interrupts the chaotic rhythm of the heart and gives the heart the chance to return to its normal rhythm.
The common defibrillator is highly advanced and will guide the user through the process. A device cannot be used on people without a cardiac issue.
Not only can the ‘defibs’ deliver a lifesaving shock, they provide real-time visual and verbal feedback to the rescuer on the force and rate of CPR compressions during an SCA resuscitation – effectively assisting the rescuer to perform CPR.
Defibrillator’s assess the status of a person’s heart and will not shock a normal heartbeat.
Training for using defibrillators
Anyone can use a defibrillator – it is just a matter of following the voice prompts provided by the unit. However, training is recommended to give the user greater confidence.
Where they should be installed at a building
Defibrillators should be able to be accessed by a rescuer within 180 seconds of a person having a SCA anywhere in the building. This means locating devices as close as possible for quick access by all units – if not every floor, in ground floor/lobbies, recreation areas and possibly lifts.
Minimal maintenance required – will need to be serviced if discharged, however the devices have an 8-year warranted life span with a battery replacement at Year 4.
Specifically mandated that training is not required. No liability attached to misuse of devices. Held less liable than if administering first aid to someone, given verbal consent is required.
Author: Sam Aubrey