Over 60,000 people have an Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) each year in the UK
With timely defibrillator intervention you can raise the survival rate up to 75%
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NEWS ALERT – Swansea set to become first “defib friendly” UK city
Plans to install up to 200 life-saving defibrillator machines in Swansea will make the city the first ‘defib-friendly’ city in the UK.
Swansea Council is teaming up with local charity – Heartbeat Trust UK, who will take the lead on the installation of the vital medical equipment – which is used when a person suffers a cardiac arrest.
The 24 hour accessible defibrillators will be installed in all 36 wards across the city, meaning residents will never be too far away from one.
Additional street signage, information boards and window stickers in retail outlets will also be included to help inform the public of where the equipment is.
A programme of CPR and defibrillator training sessions will also be provided free of charge in each ward. These one hour awareness sessions will be delivered by Heartbeat Trust’s partners, St Johns Wales and the Community Responder Network.
Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “We aim to be the first city in the UK to be defib-friendly.
“This equipment can easily mean the difference between life and death when someone suffers from a medical emergency such as a heart attack and we want to ensure all our residents have as much support as possible.”
Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes, Energy and Service Transformation said: “Heartbeat Trust UK is already doing a fantastic job working with some communities in the city with new defibrillator machines already planned. This partnership will ensure we can get these machines installed all across the city and help save lives.
“I’m confident residents in all our communities will support this partnership and I look forward to working alongside the trust to make Swansea a leading city in providing such life-saving equipment on our streets.”
Henry Gilbert, Chair of Heartbeat Trust UK, comments, “We live in very difficult times, Covid-19 has impacted every part of our lives. This pandemic has also been linked to a significant increase in the number of out of hospital cardiac arrests, by up to 180% in certain regions.
“Increasing the number of 24 hour accessible defibrillators and knowing how to use them is now more important than ever.
“Within Swansea, statistically, we can expect over 250 people to have a sudden cardiac arrest out of hospital every year and, unfortunately, 225 of our residents are not likely to survive. This obviously impacts on family, friends and even the local economy.
“With CPR and timely intervention of a defibrillator, the survival rate can potentially improve from 25 residents to over 180. Even just one additional life saved demonstrates why it is so important that everyone is aware of the location of their nearest defibrillator, how to use it and perform CPR. Everyone has the capability to save a life.”
Your Nearest Defib in Wales
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How Mumbles, Swansea, became the UK’s first “Defib Friendly” community, in five simple steps:
- A small working party was formed from the community.
- They understood where the current 24 hour and non 24 hour defibrillators were, then identified where new units were needed.
- A budget was established to purchase these new units, signage and other items. Fund-raising started through various means.
- With funds raised, defibrillators, signage, stickers, information boards were purchased and installed.
- 16 community training sessions and a social media campaign was held to inform all levels of the community and repeated six months later.
A Community Approach
With timely defibrillator intervention there is the opportunity to raise the survival rate up to 75%. Therefore, we need to optimise what already exists within the community by:
In 6 Simple Steps:
- Wherever possible, moving defibrillators ‘hidden’ within buildings outside to make them 24-hour public accessible (cost could be met by the Charity).
- Encouraging owners of privately held defibrillators to publicise their defibrillator by placing external signage, thereby allowing public usage.
- Engaging with traders and retailers and encouraging them to place window stickers which will provide directions to the nearest located defibrillator.
Installing community signage (e.g., on lamp posts) to provide directions and distance to nearest located defibrillator.
Identifying ‘Champions’ from the community to promote the use of defibrillators and to help monitor signage and located defibrillators.
Conduct regular community training sessions in the use of CPR and defibrillation, free of charge.