Knowledge saves lives


Do you know the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack? Or where your nearest defibrillator is located? PRM Senior Trainer, Emergency Management Specialist, Tim Lloyd says, “Upgrading your knowledge could save a life.” 

Every year in Australia there are approximately 33,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests caused by a variety of reasons, from lifestyle factors, pre-existing health issues, and trauma. Of the 33,000 cardiac arrests the current survival rate sits at 9%. Upgrading your knowledge, and knowing where your nearest defibrillator is, could save a life. 

Do you know the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack? 

CARDIAC ARREST is a sudden loss of heart function meaning the heart can no longer pump oxygenated blood around the body to its vital organs. 

If someone is suffering a cardiac arrest they will be;

  • Unconscious,
  • Unresponsive,
  • Not breathing normally,
  • Have no pulse.

Immediate intervention via CPR and Defibrillation is needed to increase their chance of survival.

HEART ATTACKS are generally caused by an arterial blockage somewhere. If someone is suffering a heart attack they will usually be;

  • Conscious and breathing, 
  • Experiencing chest pains, 
  • Having difficulty breathing,
  • Pale, 
  • Clammy, 
  • Nauseous,
  • Light headed. 

You can help

If you think someone is experiencing a cardiac arrest or a heart attack, call triple 000 for help followed by good quality CPR, most importantly chest compressions at the rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. 

The Australian Resuscitation Council also recommends two breaths every 30 compressions if you’re willing and able. See the recent guidance released on CPR and Defibrillator use surrounding COVID-19 for members of the public who are trained first responders. 

As soon as a defibrillator is available connect it to the patients bare chest.

An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), also known as a defib, once attached to the patient will analyse and search for a shockable rhythm. The defibrillator will only shock if it finds a shockable rhythm such as ventricular fibrillation (VF). The defibrillator is designed to shock the heart back into a normal sinus rhythm, if it does not find a shockable rhythm it will instruct you to commence CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary-Resuscitation).

For every minute that goes by without a defibrillator the chance of survival drops by 10%. Some simple math will tell you it is vital to survival to know where your nearest defibrillator is located.

Defibrillator facts:

  • The defibrillator will only shock someone in cardiac arrest.
  • You cannot hurt someone using a defibrillator. 
  • Anyone can use a defibrillator (no training needed although highly recommended). 
  • There are audio and visual instructions built into the defib. 

Always remember your safety comes first, follow DRSABCD and know where your nearest defibrillator is located and don’t underestimate the importance of First Aid and CPR training.

You could save someone’s life one day.

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