You may think that using a defibrillator would be a tricky situation but after having the chance to get some hands on expereince with using them, I can safely say that they are actually very easy to use. Not all defibrillators are going to look the same but they all function in pretty much the same way.
The machine itself actually tells you what to do with the use of clear spoken instructions so you don’t actually need training to use one although it would probably be a good idea.
If you come across someone who is unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing or not breathing normally, they’re in cardiac arrest. The most important thing and the first thing that you need to do is to call 999 and start CPR which will keep the blood flowing to the brain and around the body. After a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.
If you’re on your own, don’t interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it’s possible, send someone else to find one. When you call 999, the operator can tell you if there’s a public access defibrillator nearby.
How to use a Defibrillator
- Press the green button to switch the defibrillator on and follow the instructions as they are given to you.
- Peel off the sticky pads and attach them to the patient’s skin, one on each side of the chest. A diagram will be shown on the defibrillator.
- Once the pads have been attached, stop CPR and don’t touch the patient. The defibrillator will then analyse the patient’s heart rhythm.
- The defibrillator will assess whether a shock is needed and if so, it will tell you to press the shock button. An automatic defibrillator will shock the patient without prompt. Do not touch the patient while they are being shocked.
- The defibrillator will tell you when the shock has been delivered and whether you need to continue CPR.
- Continue with chest compressions and rescue breaths until the patient shows signs of life or the defibrillator tells you to stop so it can analyse the heartbeat again.