Community defibrillators

Community Public Access Defibrillators (cPADs)

A cPAD is a defibrillator that is available to members of the public, 24 hours a day, to use in the case of a life threatenting emergency.   In the north east, we know that only 8.7% of patients who had resuscitation attempted on them survived to be discharged from hospital. A victim’s chance of survival falls by around 7 to 10 percent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed. When a heart stops beating, oxygen is not being transported to the brain and other vital organs, and within four to five minutes, brain damage will start to occur without intervention.

Many organisations have defibrillators, which are machines that can be used to attempt to correct someone’s heart rhythm if they are in cardiac arrest, which is vital in the first few minutes to increase the chance of survival.

However, many of these are not available to the public to use or not available 24 hours per day which can mean that a vital life-saving piece of equipment is unavailable for over fifty per cent of the time. With cPAD sites, the machine is available to members of the public 24 hours a day, either because it is in a building that is permanently open, such as a hotel, or it has been placed in a special cabinet on the outside of a building.   These machines have been registered with the ambulance service, so that in a life threatening emergency, the caller can be told where the nearest defibrillator is and asked if someone can retrieve it.  If the cabinet is locked, then the caller would be given the access code.

Knowing how to help save lives

In towns and villages across the region, defibrillators have been installed to help save lives.  But would you know how to use one in an emergency? Why not take a look at these questions and answers to see how saving a life can be easier than you think.

What is a defibrillator?

When a person goes into cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating normally as the electrical activity in their heart becomes uncoordinated . A defibrillator sends out an electrical shock, to stop the electricity with the aim to get it to restart in a normal rhythm. 

What should I do if I see someone who is unconscious and not breathing normally?

You must first call 999 to arrange for help. As well as guiding you through CPR, the call operator will be able to advise you if there is a defibrillator nearby. If there is, they will ask you to stay with the patient and continue CPR but ask someone around you to find the defibrillator.

Can anyone use one?

Yes. Defibrillators give the person using them clear audio instructions. You cannot hurt someone with a defibrillator because it won’t work unless a person is in cardiac arrest.

I’ve seen some defibrillators are locked inside a cabinet. How would I know how to get access to it in an emergency?  

The 999 call handler will give you the code to unlock it.

Can it really make a difference to a person in cardiac arrest?

Definitely! Studies have shown that a shock given within three to five minutes can produce survival rates between 50 and 70 per cent.  The immediate delivery of CPR combined with early use of a defibrillator gives a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of surviving.

Chain of survival

Remember the chain of survival

To increase the chance of survival, there is a concept called the chain of survival that is a step by step guide for someone to familiarise themselves with:

1) Early recognition of someone in cardiac arrest and getting assistance is the first step to helping them. 

2) Performing CPR will help keep the brain and other vital organs supplied with blood and oxygen.   According to research, CPR can double a person’s chances of survival.

3) You can triple a person’s chance of survival by using a defibrillator as soon as you can. For every minute without defibrillation, their chances of survival reduce by 10%.

4) Early advanced care by the paramedics will be helped by the CPR performed before they get there. If you start CPR within two minutes, use a defibrillator within four minutes and a paramedic arrives in eight minutes, patients will have a 40% chance of survival.

Find your local cPAD

Definb finder

You can use defibfinder to find the 10 defibs nearest to you. These are debibds registered on The Circuit and have given permission for their info to be shared.  

Thinking about getting a cPAD? Click here to find out more.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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