One Sunday afternoon in October 2019, local authority worker Gordon Armstrong went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) whilst sat down for lunch at the Glencoe Hotel in the Scottish Highlands. Without warning, his survival clock began ticking.
In the UK, there are 30,000 out-of-hospital SCAs every year, and fewer than 1 in 10 people survive. Despite this shocking statistic, there is currently no UK legislation that requires organisations to install an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) on their site.
Luckily for Gordon, the hotel that he was staying in had installed an AED just 8 weeks prior. Down to the quick-thinking response of the hotel team, this was used to keep Gordon alive until the ambulance arrived.
Whilst Gordon survived his ordeal, the vast majority are not so lucky.
So, would you be properly prepared for a cardiac arrest event in your hotel? Here are some things you should consider when deciding whether you need to fit an AED…
Do you know exactly who is coming through your doors?
You have a host of different people coming to stay within your walls every night. Whilst you have their name, contact details and credit card information, it’s much less likely that you’ll know their age, let alone their family history, lifestyle choices, or any health conditions that they may have. These are all factors that increase your guests’ likelihood of going into SCA. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to predict who’s at risk.
SCA doesn’t just affect the old, unfit and unhealthy.
In the UK, 270 fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed cardiac conditions every year. So even if you find out as much information as possible about your guests, it’s still not always enough.
Do you have a fitness facility on-site?
Whilst exercise is important in keeping your heart healthy, there is a risk that strenuous activity can trigger an undiagnosed or underlying heart condition that can lead to SCA. If your hotel has an on-site gym, fitness suite, pool, tennis court or any other facility that can increase your guests’ heart rates, it’s even more important that you consider installing an AED on site.
But don’t just take our word for it. As part of their new Health and Safety Initiative, David Lloyd Leisure decided to include AED units in all of their gym facilities and train their staff up to use them. In the 10 years since this was introduced, over 100 lives have been saved across their gyms.
How quickly could an ambulance get to your hotel?
Ambulance response times are measured by the time it takes from receiving the 999 call to a vehicle arriving at the patient’s location.
In June 2019, the average ambulance response time in the UK for category 1 (life-threatening) calls was 7 minutes 11 seconds. Whilst this may seem swift, every minute after a cardiac arrest event without treatment reduces the chance of survival by 10%.
When thinking about the location of your hotel, it’s important to consider any factors that may increase the time it takes for an ambulance to reach someone that’s gone into SCA, such as…
- Are you in a built-up area with heavy traffic, particularly during rush hour?
- Is your hotel in a remote rural area with limited access?
- Are there any one-way roads, roadworks or any other obstacles that may prevent an ambulance from getting to you as quickly as possible?
Once you have considered these, it’s important to remember that response times are also affected by the layout and accessibility of the hotel itself.
Paramedics arrive at the entrance to your hotel; how quickly could they reach any other part of the hotel?
Many hotels have multiple floors and building security throughout, such as room keys to get you into the hotel and to work the lifts (and in some older, more remote hotels, there is no lift at all). These factors can all add life-threatening minutes on to ambulance response times, and the swift nature of SCA means that, even if your nearest hospital is relatively close, your guest still won’t receive effective treatment in time.
Still unsure if you really need an AED?
As the UK’s biggest killer, Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a very real threat.
When it comes to your hotel guests and employees, you have a corporate and social responsibility to provide a safe environment for them. AED’s are vital in cardiac arrest events and, if used within the first 3 minutes, the chance of survival increases from 7% to a staggering 74%.
When you buy a life-saving defibrillator from Martek Lifecare, you are receiving the simplest to use AED on the market that can be used by an untrained bystander of any age. We want you to save lives and avert disaster – you can even lease a unit from us for just £1.09 a day. It’s a small price to pay for life-saving equipment.