Automated External Defibrillators (AED) save lives, as many of us will have seen, or heard, with what happened to football player Christian Eriksen at the Euros 2021.
TIME is the critical factor. The chances of surviving an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest are largely dependent on how soon a shock can be delivered. It’s great if there is a defibrillator at your place of work but is it missing a vital bit of kit? ….an AED Preparation Kit.
Not all defibrillators have a pouch for an AED Prep Kit. Without an AED Prep Kit you may lose several minutes of time, or even be unable to deliver a shock at all!
By having an AED Preparation Kit arrive with the defibrillator, then the delay in delivering a shock is kept to a minimum. It’s imperative that the First Aiders in your team are familiar with your defibrillator and where the AED Prep Kit is located.
Let’s look at the contents and how they help keep those delays to a minimum.
- These are essential to cut away clothing. In winter someone may be wearing several layers of clothing making access to the patient’s chest very problematic and time consuming! The scissors are specially designed with a flange to minimise the risk of cutting the patient, but always start at the neck neck and cut down towards the waist.
- Paper towels or a flannel. We need to dry the patient’s skin of sweat or water (as this would otherwise create a short circuit and disrupt how much of the shock goes through the heart).
- A safety razor. Some people have very dense chest-hair which means the pads won’t adhere to the skin. If the pads are sitting on a mat of hair, then the shock will arc across to the skin, causing damage and disrupting how much of the shock goes through the heart.
- A pocket mask. This is for your safety and the safety of the patient by minimising the risk of cross-infection. Learning how to use a pocket-mask will require a bit of additional training but I see them as the future. The more expensive pocket masks include a bio-filter that is effective as stopping cross-infection of bacteria and viruses. It worth paying the extra for this feature and the training in how to use them.
- A pair of gloves. Again these are for safety to minimise the risk of cross-infection.
- A waste bag. Again for health and safety, to collect any rubbish.
So PLEASE, if your workplace has invested in a defibrillator (AED) please spend those extra few pounds and buy an AED preparation kit. The consequences otherwise could be disastrous.
Thank you for reading and stay safe.