Sudden cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate intervention. When someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest, every second counts. While Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is crucial in maintaining blood flow to vital organs, it alone cannot restore abnormal heart rhythm. In such critical situations, having access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and knowing how to use it can make a significant difference between life and death.
In October 2023, the Resuscitation Council UK launched their #RestartAHeart campaign with the aim to increase the number of those trained in CPR and raise awareness of defibrillation. Here we will explore below the numerous benefits of understanding how to use an AED and why it is crucial for everyone to have this knowledge.
Improving accessibility of AED’s
Each year, approximately 80,000 individuals experience cardiac arrests outside of hospital settings, around 200 people every day. 80% of these occur in a home setting. In such critical moments, defibrillators play a crucial role in saving lives.
AEDs are becoming more prevalent in public spaces, workplaces, schools, and other community areas. However, access to defibrillators can be limited in underserved communities where cardiac arrests occur more frequently. The #RestartAHeart campaign aims to change this and improve accessibility in these areas.
Increased survival rates
In the UK, just one out of every ten individuals manages to survive a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting. Although schools include CPR education, millions of UK residents still lack awareness of this crucial life-saving skill.
Studies have shown that early defibrillation can significantly increase the chances of survival for individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The Resuscitation Council UK estimates that for every minute that passes without defibrillation, the survival rate decreases by 10%. Access to CPR and defibrillation within 3-5 minutes of a collapse greatly enhances this likelihood of survival. By having the knowledge on to operate an AED, we can potentially save lives by restoring the heart’s normal rhythm.
AED training: Improving confidence in emergency situations
Data shows that 61% of individuals do not feel confident enough to use a defibrillator. More training is needed to ensure everyone is aware and understands how to use an AED. This is of particular importance in these underserved communities, where cardiac arrests happen more frequently.
Defibrillators are simple to use, and could be the difference between life and death. Knowing how to use an AED not only equips us with the skills to save lives but also boosts our confidence in emergency situations. By being prepared and trained, we can remain calm and composed, providing reassurance to those around us. This confidence can make a significant difference in the outcome of a medical emergency.
AED’s are user friendly and safe
Many believe that only trained medical professionals can use defibrillators, however they’re designed to be used by the public in emergencies – as they tell you exactly what to do. They provide clear and concise instructions, often through visual and audio prompts, guiding users through the entire process. Furthermore, AEDs come with built-in safety features that analyse the heart rhythm and deliver a shock only when needed, reducing the chances of accidental harm.
Say hi to Defib Dani
As part of the #RestartAHeart campaign, the Resuscitation Council UK have produced a short video on Defib Dani in the hope to raise awareness and increase confidence in using an AED which you can view below.
AED training can help to provide peace of mind
By learning how to use an AED, we can gain peace of mind knowing that we have the skills to potentially save a life. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a stranger, having the ability to intervene during a cardiac emergency can bring comfort and reassurance and help to empower individuals.
Understanding how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a valuable skill that can save lives. The benefits of this knowledge are numerous, from providing immediate response and increasing survival rates to boosting confidence in emergency situations. Because AEDs are user-friendly and accessible, anyone can learn how to use them effectively. When you combine the use of an AED with CPR, you can provide a comprehensive approach to resuscitation and significantly improve the chances of survival for someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. So, let us take the initiative to learn how to use an AED and potentially save a life in our communities…every second really does count.
If you’re interested in learning more about Adult & Paediatric Basic Life Support training and using AEDs, please visit our Basic Life Support Courses page.