If you come across someone who is unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing or not breathing normally, they’re in cardiac arrest. When they occur, the heart enters a chaotic rhythm preventing blood flow to vital organs, causing the heart to stop, and the person to collapse, lose consciousness and stop breathing.
A Defibrillator gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, to reset the electrical state of the heart so that it may beat to a rhythm controlled by its own natural pacemaker cells. This high energy shock is called defibrillation.
After a cardiac arrest, every minute without defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.
The most important thing to do is to call 999 and start CPR to keep the blood flowing to the brain and around the body.
If you’re on your own, don’t interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it’s possible, send someone else to find one.
When you call 999, the operator can tell you where the difibrillator is and what to do.