Fire crews around the world are being trained in emergency medical services alongside ambulance and other partners to help save more lives. International defibrillator manufacturers Cardiac Science are providing state-of-the-art Powerheart® G5 devices to fire services to meet a growing need. Steve Jelfs, from Cardiac Science, talks about how to recognise sudden cardiac arrest and how latest AED (automated external defibrillator) technology makes it easy to save lives.
“Less than one in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in the UK (British Heart Foundation – BHF) because they either don’t have the skills or confidence to perform CPR or there is no AED available to allow the rescuer to deliver a shock within 3 to 5 minutes (BHF and UK Resuscitation Council – A Guide to Automated External Defibrillators). Cardiac Science works with emergency services and many third-party organisations to tackle this rescue gap and give people the tools to take action. Without intervention, those people have no chance of survival.
How to spot a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)
A sudden cardiac arrest is an ‘electrical’ problem. It occurs when the heart malfunctions and suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating normally. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This results in the victim becoming unresponsive, not breathing or not breathing normally (gasping). If it’s not treated, SCA usually causes death within minutes.
Often SCA and heart attack are thought to be the same thing. However, they are very different. A heart attack is a ‘plumbing’ problem and is caused when the blood supply to the heart is blocked but the heart keeps beating. Usually, the patient will remain conscious and can be talking but has symptoms such as pains in the chest which may radiate down the arm and up to the jaw. There are other possible symptoms such as sweating, nausea and feeling lightheaded. In some cases, a heart attack can lead on to a sudden cardiac arrest if left untreated.
SCA can happen to anyone regardless of age, fitness, diet. However, your chances may be increased if you have a family history of coronary artery disease. A sudden cardiac arrest can also occur following electrocution, a drug overdose, severe haemorrhage (losing a large amount of blood), a sudden blow to the chest and drowning.
If you find someone unresponsive, not breathing or not breathing normally (gasping), they are in sudden cardiac arrest. With SCA, every minute counts. Every minute without effective treatment reduces that person’s chance of survival by 10%.
How is the latest technology in defibrillation helping rescuers
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. The AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are the effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest. They are intelligent devices, designed to guide anyone through a rescue. You do not need to have a medical background or training to use an AED.
The Powerheart® G5 has moved the intelligence on yet again meaning fire fighters, when faced with someone experiencing an SCA, can be even more confident of tackling the situation successfully. There are several reasons for this.
First of all, you can be sure that the G5 AED is always Rescue Ready®, so whether on the wall of a fire station or on a vehicle it will perform as expected. Rescue Ready® technology performs rigorous daily, weekly and monthly self-tests. The G5 also includes a medical-grade battery with a 4-year operational guarantee and an 8-year warranty.
Secondly during a tense rescue both experienced and first time rescuers will benefit from the Powerheart® G5’s RescueCoach™, which literally talks you through the process – a powerful combination of user-paced instruction, intuitive pad design with real-time CPR guidance and automatic shock delivery to reduce the likelihood of human error. It can also intensify the level of shock required – called variable escalating energy – as needed.
AEDs will only deliver a shock to someone in a shockable rhythm. If a normal heart rate is detected, the defibrillator will recognise this and say ‘no shock required’. This also means that you can’t shock someone accidentally. To date, there have been no cases of a person being prosecuted/sued for helping someone in medical need.
The G5 AED is also light enough to travel anywhere but strong enough to pass military standards and withstand the effects of dust and water.
The device has a range of optional extras including wall cabinets, wall sleeves, carry cases, signage and ready kits. Ready kits include non-latex gloves (medium and large), a razor, medical shears, two paper towels, and a one-way CPR mask.
Every Powerheart® G5 install also comes with full access to everything you need to get started including demo videos and manuals as well as an online training resource CardiAcademy.
Cardiac Science is a global industry leader and manufacturer of Powerheart® AEDs with over 100 patents and 20+ years of engineering excellence.
For more information please go to: www.cardiacscience.co.uk