Friday, 25 June 2010

Training Not Essential to Save a Life With a Defibrillator

There’s a growing debate in the marine industry about the importance of on-board automated external defibrillators (AEDs) with the seafarer’s union Nautilus International calling for the carriage of defibrillators on-board all ships as the only treatment of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

While the majority of companies can see that a defibrillator is the only way of giving their crew members a chance of surviving SCA while at sea, you may be one of the companies who still remain concerned about the cost and logistics involved in training all your crew members to use the device in addition to the cost of actually purchasing the units.

Although training is desirable it is by no means a necessity as outlined in the “statement on the training required to use an automated external defibrillator” released by the Resuscitation Council (UK) – the UK body responsible for setting central standards for cardiopulmonary resuscitation – and backed by the British Heart Foundation:

“Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to be used by members of the public, and are very effective at guiding the operator through the process of administering the shock. They have become widely available, are safe and easy to use, and will not allow a shock to be given to a victim who does not require one.

AEDs have been used frequently by laypeople with modest training, and many reports testify to the success of this strategy. Operators without formal training have also used AEDs successfully to save lives.

While it is highly desirable that those who may be called upon to use an AED should be trained in their use, and keep their skills up to date, circumstances can dictate at no trained operator (or a trained operator whose certificate of training has expired) is present at the site of an emergency. Under these circumstances no inhibitions should be placed on any person willing to use an AED.

It is the view of the Resuscitation Council (UK) that the use of AEDs should NOT be restricted to trained personnel...”

Click here to read the full Resuscitation Council statement.

As the above statement from the Resuscitation Council (UK) clearly shows, even though training is desirable it is not essential in order for your crew to use the defibrillator effectively. Modern defibrillators are designed to be used by non-medically trained personnel and are simple to operate.

Training can always be carried out at a later date when budgets allow. By having a defibrillator on-board at least you can have the means available to treat a sudden cardiac arrest victim. A defibrillator in an untrained hand is still an effective lifesaver while not having a defibrillator on-board your ships means your crews’ chances of surviving SCA at sea are zero.

Find out more about the Lifeforce® Marine Defibrillator

We are always interested in finding out what our industry colleagues think about this subject so please feel free to leave a comment.

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