The Heartstart Thatcham Defibrillator team installed a Public Access Defibrillator at Moorside Community Centre, Thatcham. The device has been installed as a result of a partnership between Heartstart Thatcham, West Berkshire Council, Thatcham Town Council, Greenham Common Trust and a few private individuals.
A defibrillator is a device that is used on a person who is in cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest, which is different to a heart attack, is where the heart is no longer pumping blood around the body. This requires immediate CPR and where possible the use of a defibrillator; performing CPR and using a defibrillator will increase the chance of survival. Dr Nick Young, Scheme Coordinator for Heartstart Thatcham, was keen to highlight several facts and noted that “you do not need any training to use the device and you cannot misuse it. The defibrillator will deliver a shock to the casualty only if they need it; in other words it will not let you shock them unless they need a shock.”
The way this works in reality is; Assume you have seen someone collapse to the floor and you are unable to get a response from him or her. To start with you would not know the person is in cardiac arrest so you call 999. The call handler will get you to check if they are breathing and if they are not you would be instructed to start CPR. The call handler will look on their system to see where the nearest AED is and instruct someone to go and get it. If needed they will also give you the access code. Once a defibrillator is on scene you can then follow the instructions of the defibrillator or get the call handler to walk you through the process. The crucial step here and in any medical emergency situation is dialing 999 as soon as possible.
Heartstart Thatcham deliver FREE Emergency Life Support (ELS) training which includes CPR and use of a defibrillator.