Heart of the matter

IMG_0533The GoodSAM app shows the location of defibrillators

London Hearts is a charity placing defibrillators in communities across the country. Kimberley Lloyd encourages South Woodford businesses and venues to apply for a life-saving device of their own

The biggest killer in the UK is not smoking, alcohol abuse or even road traffic accidents; it’s cardiac arrest, an electrical malfunction of the heart that results in over 100,000 deaths each year.

When a cardiac arrest occurs, time is of the essence. The patient needs to be stabilised and kept alive until the ambulance arrives.  Unfortunately, the stats are not in the patient’s favour, as for each minute lost after arrest there is a 10% loss of life expectancy, and as the average UK ambulance arrival time is eight to 10 minutes – well, you do the maths!

The availability and usage of a public access defibrillator means the chance of survival from cardiac arrest increases from 6% to an amazing 74%. You never really want to be more than 100 metres from an available defibrillator.

London Hearts is a charity committed to providing individuals and communities all over England with life-saving defibrillators to protect as many people as possible. The charity deals with the procurement and supply of the defibrillators and supporting equipment, as well as incidentals, including problem-solving and free CPR and awareness training, which is often the hidden cost providing a financial sting in the tail when a defibrillator is sourced via the retail market.

Not all defibrillators are the same, of course, as there are lots on the market. It is important to ensure that the one chosen is fit for purpose and also quickly accessible and usable, whether it be an adult or child who needs attention.

In reality, anyone can use a defibrillator – it is simply a matter of confidence. Any training is a matter of familiarisation. The defibrillator is so advanced that it literally talks the user through the procedure. Be assured, it is impossible to deliver a shock to a patient not in cardiac arrest, so there is no question of making the patient any worse or incurring any liability.

You can find out where your nearest defibrillator in South Woodford is by downloading the GoodSAM app and typing in your postcode.

Where possible, we recommend that all defibrillators are public access and encourage all businesses, schools and sports clubs to have one in their facilities. You can apply for a defibrillator on our website and we are offering a £500 grant towards all applications from the South Woodford area.

For more information on London Hearts and to apply for a defibrillator, visit londonhearts.org. To download the GoodSAM app, visit goodsamapp.org