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The British Heart Foundation (BHF), NHS England, Microsoft solutions provider New Signature and NHS Scotland have teamed up to combine their expertise in technology and healthcare, and devise a map of all the defibrillators around the UK.

The aim is to have these life-saving devices readily available all over the country to help in every out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

According to the BHF, one of the biggest barriers to the use of defibrillators in the event of an emergency is that their location is often unknown to both bystanders and ambulance services, despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of them in prominent places in train stations, workplaces, public places and leisure centres all around the UK.

Research shows that public access defibrillators are used in less than three per cent of cardiac arrests that take place out of hospital, which reduces the survival chances of tens of thousands of people significantly each and every year.

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK but fewer than one in ten people survive. Interestingly, in nations where members of the general public are better equipped to recognise arrests and deal with them, survival rates are up to three times higher.

“Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around ten per cent. Thousands more lives could be saved if the public were equipped with vital CPR skills, and had access to a defibrillator in the majority of cases,” BHF chief executive Simon Gillespie.

The defibrillator network is due to be launched in spring next year, with owners being invited to register their equipment online. Detailed locations will be included, allowing ambulance services to direct people to the nearest one. Owners will also be able to support one another in the maintenance of the life-saving devices.

In the meantime, sending your members of staff on defib training is an excellent first step towards helping save lives, as it will give them the confidence to be able to act if something does happen in the workplace.

A basic life support and safe use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) course should take no more than four hours to complete and it really could mean the difference between life and death. Over half a day, your employees will develop the knowledge and practical competences required to deal with a range of different first aid situations, as well as how to use a defibrillator safely.

Topics covered include CPR, combining this with AED use, managing an unresponsive casualty and using defibrillators on both adults and children. The course is aimed at those who have a specific interest or responsibility at work, or those in voluntary or community activities, so they’re able to provide basic life support in an emergency situation that could potentially require the use of an AED.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us today.