These days, it’s not an uncommon sight to see automatic defibrillators in public places, from health centres and gyms to pubs and libraries. But do you know how to use one and would you feel confident in an emergency? Here are the answers to three frequently asked questions to help put your mind at ease.
- Can I shock someone accidentally?
These devices come with sophisticated algorithms that will only shock someone who needs one. If someone’s heart is beating normally, the defibrillator will not allow a shock.
- Do I need training to use these devices?
Modern devices have been designed so that anyone can use them, even if they’ve had no medical training. The pads come with a clear diagram on them to show you where to put them on the patient and a clear voice prompt will then come on to talk you through the steps of using it, as well as telling you when to perform CPR.
- Why do we need a defibrillator if we’re all trained in CPR?
CPR isn’t enough to save someone’s life in some instances, it’s just one link in the chain of survival. It’s a misconception that CPR and calling 999 is enough to save a life. All CPR actually does is maintain blood flow and oxygen to the brain – it won’t bring a heart back into a normal rhythm. Defibrillation is most certainly the key to survival and the sooner you can use one of these devices on someone having a heart attack the better.
Find further reading on defibrillators in public places on the Hansard website.