Life-saving defibrillator installed in Hitchin
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) has installed a potentially life-saving defibrillator at its shop in Hitchin accessible via a cabinet on the outside of the premises in Churchgate. The installation was made possible thanks to support from Hertfordshire County Council and North Hertfordshire District Council.
EHAAT is committed to installing Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) on the outside of, or close to, all of its Charity shops. The devices are designed to be safely used by untrained members of the public.
A defibrillator is a computerised medical device used when a person experiences sudden cardiac arrest. The defibrillator delivers an electrical current through the chest which aims to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm, allowing it to pump again. The use of this, alongside cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), is crucial to the ‘chain of survival’.
The Charity hopes that the defibrillator will encourage bystanders to get involved if they encounter a case of cardiac arrest, and will provide the people of Hitchin with additional assistance before trained medical help arrives. EHAAT is committed to raising awareness and ensuring that PADs are accessible so that, should a sudden cardiac arrest occur, assistance can be given at the very earliest opportunity.
Stuart Elms, Clinical Director for EHAAT said: “We are grateful to both Hertfordshire County Council and North Hertfordshire District Council for providing the grant funding and enabling the Charity to purchase the equipment for use by the local community.
Our Pre-hospital Care Doctors and Critical Care Paramedics treat many out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year, and the NHS Ambulance services treat approximately 30,000 per year.
“Care and treatment has advanced every year, but those receiving bystander CPR and early defibrillation have a better chance of survival. PADs are a recognised, safe method of initiating care in this group of patients, for whom time is critical.”
We want the public to know that there is a PAD available in their area. Once 999 has been called, ensuring that further help is on the way, members of the public should not be afraid to use the equipment and start CPR. The defibrillator provides clear and audible instructions and will not deliver a shock if the patient does not need it.”
Judy Billing and Derek Ashley, Hertfordshire County Councillors for Hitchin commented: “We’re delighted to support the installation of this defibrillator. This essential project makes an important contribution to Hitchin’s healthcare infrastructure.”
Councillor Clare Billing, North Herts District Council said: “I am very pleased that the Hitchin Committee was able to support the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Charity shop in Churchgate and that the Public Access Defibrillator has now been fitted.
“Now if it’s needed the public can have access to this vital tool for saving lives in the centre of Hitchin. Also with the new national database it will be easy to find the nearest defibrillator if it’s ever needed.”