Defibrillator unit

THE Welsh Ambulance Service has launched its #Defibuary campaign that could equip people with the skills and confidence to save a life. The annual online drive aims to familiarise the public with the symptoms of heart attack and cardiac arrest and how to treat these two different emergencies.

In Wales, 80% cardiac arrests occur in the home, so knowing what to do and being familiar with cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a defibrillator can improve the chances of survival for a loved one.

Fiona Maclean, the Trust’s Public Engagement and Community Involvement Manager, leads the #Defibuary campaign. “Defibuary is all about education and taking away the fears people may have in dealing with occurrences of heart attack or cardiac arrest,” she said. “Key to this is for people to be able to recognise the symptoms of both and we have created a series of easy-to-understand slides which we will publish on Twitter and Facebook that are a great tool for the public to save and use as reference.

“We have also produced a handy video this year which demonstrates the correct procedures for CPR and shows how and when to use a defibrillator. Of course, once a 999 call has been made, one of our skilled call handlers will always stay on the line with you and talk you through every step of the way.”

A vital tool available to almost every community in Wales are Public Access Defibrillators (PADS). In cases of cardiac arrest when the heart has stopped pumping blood around the body, a defibrillator will give you step by step instructions on what to do and will only deliver a shock if the person needs it. Defibrillators are easy to use and are designed to be used by anyone. You cannot cause any harm to the person by using one. The Welsh Ambulance Service has access to 6,047 registered PADS across the country and in emergency situations will direct a bystander to the nearest available resource.

Some 2,700 of these PADS are without a ‘Guardian’ or somebody who looks after and checks on the condition of them and carries out tasks such as changing the batteries and pads after use to ensure they are always ‘Rescue Ready’. You can register to become a Guardian by visiting The Circuit defibrillator registration network.

Look out for the educational slides across the @WelshAmbulance Twitter account, and the Public Engagement and Community Involvement teams @WelshAmbPECI feed too, and get sharing to spread the life-saving advice.

How to spot the symptoms

The Welsh Ambulance Service has produced a training video which explains what people should do if they ever need to give someone potentially life saving treatment. Here is a helpful video:

What to look for – heart attack symptoms

• Patient usually conscious

• A feeling of pressure

• Pain

• Burning in the chest

• Central chest pain which may radiate into the back, jaw and arms

• Sweating

• Breathlessness

Heart attack – what to do

• Call 999 immediately

• Sit the patient down

• Keep them at rest

• Keep them calm

Cardiac arrest symptoms

• Sudden collapse

• Stop breathing normally

Cardiac arrest – what to do

• Call 999 immediately and listen closely to the call handler

• Begin CPR immediately

• You’ll be told if there is a defibrillator nearby and asked if someone there can go and collect it