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GUEST BLOG: SCA Survival – England vs The Rest of the World

By Lindsay Atherton, defibshop manager, Imperative Training

In present day, we’re able to get almost anything we want in an instant. Want a coffee? There’s a drive-thru just at the end of the street. Need a new book? You can download one instantly to your tablet. How about your weekly shop? A few clicks and it’ll be delivered at a time that suits you.

We really are developing into a world where everything is becoming increasingly accessible at the touch of a button, but in the event of an emergency, would a First Aider and defibrillator be as easy to come by?

Current statistics show that just 5% of the UK are trained in first aid. Compare this to the 95% of Norway, who are equipped with this life-saving knowledge, as well as 80% of Germany and Austria and 75% of Iceland. In many US states, students aren’t able to graduate without a first aid certificate and in certain European countries, you MUST be first aid qualified in order to receive your driving license – so why is the UK so unconcerned of its importance and growing need in society?

With the application of effective CPR and a defibrillator, chances of survival for a cardiac arrest victim can increase from just 6% to 74% if treatment is applied within the first 3-5 minutes. Currently, 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest every year in the UK outside of a hospital environment with less than 10% of casualties surviving.

The reality is, is that cardiac arrest can occur in anyone at anytime and in anyplace. Cardiac arrest doesn’t prey on any particular characteristics and can affect any individual regardless of whether they’re a healthy 10 year old at school, a middle-aged lady doing her Saturday shopping or a premiership footballer warming up before a match.

Fabrice Muamba is a prime example that SCA can affect anyone with no prior warning or symptoms. Fabrice was a professional footballer, playing for the Bolton Wanderers when he tragically suffered a cardiac arrest during the first half of an FA Cup quarter-final. He received lengthy treatment on the pitch and received defibrillation at the scene before being taken to hospital to receive further treatment where he thankfully made a full recovery but not without having to say goodbye to his football career for good.

More and more people are becoming increasingly aware of the need for defibrillators in public locations – although they’re not always knowledgeable as to why. Often people relate these machines to heart attacks and would be scared to use one in fear of harming a victim, when really they are the only chance of survival a victim of cardiac arrest has.

So what can we do? Currently 83% of the UK have stated they would feel more confident helping those around them if they were taught first aid. Our best hope for an increased awareness, education and survival statistics is the implementation of first aid training and defibrillators within workplaces, communities and schools.

Simply getting to know a defibrillator and learning its unique functions within a 2 hour training session can be enough to increase someone’s confidence in taking action, should they witness a cardiac emergency. The more we can introduce these life-saving units into society, the more comfortable people will feel in being around them and operating them.

Combine this with the inclusion of basic first aid training, we can help to boost recovery rates of simple first aid injuries which can often develop into much serious cases when the wrong treatment is given. Simple changes to your community and working environment can make a massive difference in the 30,000 of cardiac arrests which are suffered each year in the UK.

So how about it, want to make a change? It’s as simple as browsing www.defibshop.co.uk. We offer a wide range of defibrillators to suit a variety of locations and experience levels so anyone can have the opportunity to save a life in the event of an emergency. Alternatively, you can speak to the defibrillator experts themselves by calling defibshop directly on 0845 071 0830 or check out our exclusive guide for Defibrillators for Business.