The cPAD – what is it?
A Community Public Access Defibrillator – is the simple answer, but it needs a little more explanation than that and Louise can provide it.
“When a group of mums went on a first aid course organised by the PA recently, we were given some pretty shocking statistics concerning cardiac arrest survival rates. Less than 3% survive discharge from hospital, but if we have defibrillators in the community, statistics suggest that survival rates can increase to around 50%. Timing is absolutely critical, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%.
The most common cause of cardiac arrest is when the heart goes into ventricular fibrillation (VF). This is when the electrical activity of the heart becomes so chaotic that the heart stops pumping blood and quivers or “fibrillates” instead. A heart in VF can sometimes be corrected, but only by administering an electrical shock by a piece of equipment called a defibrillator. This is usually done by a trained medic such as a paramedic, but can also be administered by a member of the public with access to a Community Public Access Defibrillator (cPAD).
Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, of any age, of any sex, at any time and survival depends upon getting the right treatment quickly, usually within 5 minutes or so. In rural locations, such as Geddington, this is not always possible and this is why many communities are looking to install cPADs in central, prominent locations within their villages, such as outside village halls, churches and even taking over underused BT phone boxes.
Whilst none of us have any medical training, it is alarmingly obvious that a village of our size and demographic should have access to a defibrillator. We’ve therefore approached a number of the village groups and amazingly, funding for the cPAD has been given without the need to actually fundraise. We have also approached a national charity called Community Heartbeat Trust (CHT) who specialise in installing these units.
The units that we are looking at are located externally within a heated, vandal resistant box. Whilst training is preferable the units can be used by anyone as they are extremely easy to use. Furthermore they are “intelligent” and assess the patient before giving the shock. The unit is registered with the local ambulance service so that when someone dials 999 to report a suspected cardiac arrest, the operator gives the location of the unit and the code to open the box.
We are nearly there thanks to the offer of funding, but there are some points that we need further guidance on and this is where Community Heartbeat will be helping us. They will be assisting us in getting the most suitable unit and box for our village, advise us on its location, provide training and assist us in the ongoing maintenance and governance of the unit, to ensure it remains registered with the ambulance service.
We are currently looking at a few locations within the village including the phone box and the church wall. Once we have undertaken the necessary research and consultation we will be in a position to order the cPAD.”
We will keep you posted on our progress!
For further details about the Geddington cPAD, contact Louise through her email address: email@example.com
For further details about the Community Heartbeat trust, visit their website: www.communityheartbeat.org.uk