Monday , October 23 2017

Cardiac care for Australian schools

Red Cross recommends all schools consider purchasing a defibrillator as part of their first aid equipment.

We might not want to talk about it, but we should.

A Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen anywhere and occur at any time without warning and does not discriminate. It can and does affect people of all ages and can occur in children due to drowning, choking, receiving an electric shock or from respiratory related medical conditions such as asthma and anaphylaxis, trauma, poison or congenital abnormalities.

Early defibrillation in conjunction with CPR gives the best chance of survival, even if administered by an untrained bystander.

Having a defibrillator on hand can dramatically boost survival rates. Following an arrest the chances of survival decrease by up to 10% for every minute that passes. These chances can be significantly improved by applying the following three dynamic steps: Call 000, start CPR and apply an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Red Cross and the Heart Foundation both acknowledge the importance of having easy access to automated external defibrillators wherever large groups of people gather, including schools and sporting clubs.

Apply for a grant

Project Defib is a Red Cross initiative which enables every school in Australia the opportunity to access a $1600.00 subsidy to put towards the defibrillator package.

There is no limit to the number of subsidies that any eligible school can receive. Your location may require more than one device depending on the distance and time it takes to retrieve a device.

To register your interest in Project Defib, call 1300 367 428 or visit projectdefib.com.au to apply online.

What is an AED and when it is needed?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable, computerised device which is used to deliver an electrical shock to the heart (defibrillation) of a person who is experiencing the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest.

The only definitive treatment to restore an effective heart rhythm of the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest is defibrillation.

Who can use an AED?

Anyone – from first responders to untrained bystanders – can use an AED to respond confidently and appropriately during an emergency.

When used properly and with appropriate precautions, AEDs are very simple to operate and pose no risk to either the rescuer or the victim. They are designed to deliver an electrical shock ONLY when it detects it is required.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

A Heart Attack is a “Circulation” problem and Sudden Cardiac Arrest is an “Electrical” problem.

A Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. It occurs when the heart’s electrical impulses suddenly become chaotic, causing the heart to abruptly stop pumping blood effectively – known as ventricular fibrillation. The victim becomes unresponsive, has no detectable pulse and stops breathing.

It is a medical emergency of the highest priority and it does not discriminate. It can and does affect people of all ages and can occur in children due to drowning, choking, receiving an electric shock or from respiratory related medical conditions such as asthma and anaphylaxis, trauma, poison or congenital abnormalities.

More than 30,000 Australians suffer from sudden cardiac arrest every year of which only 5% survive.

How many AEDs do I require?

It is recommended that AEDs be located so as to provide a “drop to shock” window of no more than three to five minutes and be no more than 90 seconds away from the victim.

Schools that install a defibrillator for general use should notify their local ambulance service of its location.

Learn CPR

Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest because it helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

After delivering a shock most AEDs will prompt the operator to begin CPR while the device continues to analyse the victim. Most AEDs will also instruct the user on how to perform CPR using audio or video instructions.

While this is helpful, Red Cross recommends that already having CPR skills will increase a person’s confidence and minimise panic when responding to an emergency.

 

 

Staff members appointed as first aiders should already be trained in the use of CPR and may wish to promote these techniques more widely in the school.

For first aid and CPR training with Red Cross, call 1300 367 428 or visit redcross.org.au/firstaid

 

 

 

Apply for a grant

To register your interest in Project Defib, call 1300 367 428 or visit projectdefib.com.au to apply online.

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