When cardiac arrest or other serious breathing symptoms occur, time is of the essence in saving a person’s life. In addition to CPR, using a defibrillator can drastically increase the chances that a person will be kept in a stable condition while professional medical personnel make their way to the scene.
Meant to be used as a lifesaving medical device, a defibrillator provides a shock to the heart that helps correct problems like life-threatening arrhythmias. The primary arrhythmia health professionals watch out for is known as “ventricular fibrillation.” This condition is characterized by a rapid erratic beating of the heart, which makes multiple pacemaker areas of the heart unable to connect rhythmically. Defibrillators correct this issue by providing a shock that momentarily stops the heart’s rhythm, so that it can restart in a normal fashion.
In every single state in the US, certain areas and services are required to have a defibrillator accessible at all times. This action was enacted due to the staggering number of Americans who die from sudden cardiac arrest each year (over 250,000). By having the device in reach, and manuals that can walk anyone through the process of using them, this legislation has helped to save countless lives throughout the years. With the help of a defibrillator, a person can become stable enough to reach a hospital for further medical care, after a life-threatening emergency like cardiac arrest or an arrhythmia.
Here are just a few of the main areas that are either required to have an accessible defibrillator, or that are suggested to have one:
- Non-Emergency Medical Facilities
To effectively use a defibrillator, you need to follow six simple, but highly important, steps:
- Call 000 to request a paramedic. Having a trained medical professional on site ASAP goes a long way in helping to save the life of a victim after you’ve stabilized them.
- Begin to check the victim’s breathing, and make sure their airway is clear. If the airway is clear begin applying CPR.
- After applying CPR, locate the defibrillator. Have someone take over CPR duties while applying the chest electrode pads to the victim.
- Follow the visual and/or voice prompts of the defibrillator to turn it on.
- Secure the electrode pads in preparation for the defibrillator use.
- Follow the instructions in the manual to operate the defibrillator effectively.