Defibrillator awareness in the office

Did you know there’s a simple way that your business could help to save someone’s life?

London Ambulance Service (LAS) figures show that if someone who’s not in hospital goes into cardiac arrest, giving them a shock with a defibrillator can boost their chances of survival five-fold.

Read on to find out more about installing one of these life-saving devices in your workplace, and making staff aware of how to use it.

Surviving cardiac arrest

According to the LAS, people who go into cardiac arrest when they’re not in hospital are now more than twice as likely to survive as a decade ago.

Their chance of survival is still relatively low at 10.8% – but if they’re given at least one shock with a defibrillator, that rises to 57.1%.

A defibrillator is a small, portable piece of medical equipment that detects if a person is in cardiac arrest, and delivers a high-energy electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. You might also see them called automated external defibrillators (AEDs) or public access defibrillators (PADs).

Of course, in emergency situations, every second counts. Dr Fenella Wrigley, LAS Chief Medical Officer, says: “The key to a patient surviving a cardiac arrest is for them to receive basic life support as quickly as possible, including chest compressions and the use of a defibrillator.”

So thousands of organisations around the UK are now installing defibrillators on their premises.

Which businesses should have a defibrillator?

The Health and Safety Executive recommends that organisations should carry out needs assessments taking into account a variety of factors.

The age of people using your premises is one consideration, as the risk of cardiac arrest rises with age. You should also consider how many people pass through your premises, and how quickly the emergency services could reach you.

However, many low-risk businesses are also choosing to purchase defibrillators – it’s a great way to provide reassurance to staff and customers, and demonstrate that their health is important to you.

By registering your device to The Circuit, paramedics can find it quickly if there’s an emergency nearby. That means your business contributes to the safety not only of your colleagues and customers, but also your local community.

Workplace training

It’s important that your workplace first aiders are trained in defibrillator use and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) – go to the British Heart Foundation website to find out more.

However, defibrillators are designed to be easy to use. They contain clear instructions on attaching the pads, and guide users through the process with voice prompts.

So you should also make all your staff aware that if an emergency arises and there are no trained first aiders to hand, they can use a defibrillator themselves while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

As Dr Wrigley says: “I really want to emphasise that members of the public can never do a patient any harm by using a defibrillator – it simply assesses the patient’s heart rhythm and will only deliver a shock if it is needed. When you use a defibrillator you are only ever improving that person’s chances of survival.”

DMG can conduct a health and safety risk assessment of your premises as well as offer a selection of defibrillator machines, suitable for all types of workplace.

Buy your defibrillator from DMG today, and become part of the UK’s life-saving network.