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How do you know if someone is experiencing a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and what do I do?
The symptoms of an SCA are immediate and include:
• Sudden collapse
• No pulse
• No breathing
• Loss of consciousness
It can occur with no warning. The heart enters a chaotic rhythm and ultimately stops blood pumping round your body.
Is An SCA Serious?
• Worldwide, seven million people are impacted annually
• More than 130,000 people in the UK suffer from an SCA out of hospital, every year
(British Heart Foundation)
• Only five to 10% of people currently survive an SCA
• 84% of SCA events occur outside of a healthcare setting
• The average response time for emergency services is around eight to 10 minutes, and every minute that passes without defibrillation reduces survival rate by seven to 10%
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can increase the survival rates for an SCA up to 75%
Do I Use a Defibrillator?
If you come across someone who is unconscious and not breathing, do not waste time. International resuscitation councils recommend that you assume it is an SCA and act quickly. And, contrary to what people think, automatic external defibrillators can be used by anyone – no matter how old you are or whether you’ve even touched a defibrillator before, as they are designed for use by untrained and minimally trained users not just for healthcare professionals.
1. FIRST CALL 999
2. FIND A DEFIBRILLATOR AND USE IT
3. START CPR
Defibrillators should be treated in the same way as fire extinguishers, so they should not be locked away in a cupboard, and should be easily accessible to everyone - when you have one on your business premises.
If you don’t have a defibrillator in your business and someone suffers from an SCA, when you ring 999 you can ask the emergency services to identify the location of your nearest public AED. You will be given a key code to gain access to the device – as in public locations they are often protected so it remains secure.