Each year over 20,000 Australians experience a sudden cardiac arrest in an out of hospital environment, and sadly as little as 10% may survive. For every minute that passes without access to defibrillators, the chances of survival will decrease, which is why it’s becoming increasingly important for the public to have easy access to defibrillators.
In recent times, there has been instances where the ambulance response times have been slow arriving to an emergency, and as a result there has been an increase in awareness and a desire by individuals and workplaces to buy defibrillators to have quick and easy access to defibrillators, which in turn improves the work, health, and safety environment for employees.
Ease Of UsePublic access defibrillators are designed to be user friendly, even for the untrained user who may have never completed a First Aid course. Whether they are a cheap defibrillator, or one of the ranges of portable defibrillators emerging on the market, ease of use and accessibility are key components of their design.
Visually the look and feel of defibrillators is geared toward simplicity to not overwhelm or discourage the user. Many defibrillators for sale to the public are designed to not appear like a medical device, so that when a user is observing the defibrillator, it is very clear and easy to understand what the first step is.
The user will be guided by visual and concise audible prompts which clearly outline each step of the process and will repeat those instructions until that step is complete before moving onto the next step. Most defibrillators in Australia available to the public will operate in this way to provide consistency and familiarity.
It is important to note that once defibrillator pads have been applied to a patient, the pads will assess the patient to determine if a shock is required. If a shock is not required, the defibrillator will advise the user and will not deliver a shock. If a shock is required, the defibrillator will advise a shock is required, and the next steps.
A defibrillator performs this task by checking the heart rhythm of the patient. Defibrillators are used to prevent or correct an irregular heartbeat, e.g., where the heartbeat may be too slow of too fast. If the defibrillator determines a shock is required, it will deliver a measured electric shock to restore the hearts normal rhythm.
We have observed that Defibrillators in Australia were often considered a medical device to be used by trained operators. With the improvements in design, and the recent increase in affordability, we are seeing a willingness from the public and workplace, and increased user confidence to buy defibrillators online.
Public Access DefibrillatorsEqually pleasing we are finding many organisations are contributing to implementing public access defibrillators in locations that are easily accessible by the public. Locations such as hotels, pubs, sports clubs, and post offices are easy to remember, and will often mount their defibrillators on an external wall so that they are accessible 24/7 in an emergency.
Some states have taken an important step of implementing a register of public access defibrillators which keeps record of the location so that when a 000 call is made, the operator can guide the caller to the nearest defibrillator. This is an important initiative that could help save a life before an ambulance arrives on the scene.
- Victorian AED Register: https://www.ambulance.vic.gov.au/community/community-partnerships/register-my-aed/
- South Australian AED Register: https://saambulance.sa.gov.au/what-we-do/aed-register/