Defib Friendly Communities
A cardiac arrest can happen at work, rest or play.
Is your workplace "Defib Friendly"?
Heartbeat Trust UK seeks to engage with the local community at all levels: councillors, traders and retailers, residents and the general public.
Only with the local knowledge and support of the local community can the aims of Heartbeat Trust UK be realised within an acceptable timeframe across the country. In fact, it must be more than simply engagement with the local community, it must be community led.
That said, it is recognised that each community requires priming for action and once motivated needs to be supported by the 3Ms of management, method and materials. Willing communities have to be supported through good governance, efficient processes and consistent branding and materials; this is where Heartbeat Trust UK plays an important role.
The process always starts with identifying a community, defined by people living in the same area sharing common interests and values (more often this will follow political boundaries). Occasionally, a community leader will approach HBT and explore the opportunity to make their community ‘Defib Friendly’.
Within each community a steering group has to be identified. It need not be large, 4 to 6 people is sufficient. These may be community leaders such as local councillors, religious leaders, or prominent business people in the community. The wider engagement of the community comes at a later stage.
Heartbeat Trust will meet with the local steering group and seek their commitment and support to implement the programme in their community.
The following actions have to be agreed and allocated:
- Identify and map existing locations of defibrillators.
- Define where 24-hour accessible defibrillators should strategically be placed and produce a ‘gap analyses’ between what now exists and what is required.
- Consider relocating existing defibrillators that may be held within premises to an external position that is 24-hour accessible to the public. In some cases, encouragement to the host may be required to achieve this.
- Where necessary, purchase and install new defibrillators and cabinets.
- Hold a launch event to engage with the wider community, specifically traders and retailers, with the aim of:
- Placing window stickers showing where the nearest defibrillator is sited
- Identifying ‘champions’ to monitor the signage and defibrillator sites
- Seeking possible donations, particularly from local councilors
- Provide directional signs at strategic points with countdown (yards) to the nearest defibrillator (usually these will be placed on lampposts).
- Provide ‘tent’ signs above defibrillators to clearly identify their location.
- Provide information boards at strategic points that briefly inform the passing public of the importance of defibrillators and the ease of using them.
- Arrange free training sessions in CPR and defibrillation, thereby raising awareness and making people feel more confident about defibrillators.