Although our team of volunteers are called ‘First Responders’, it may actually be YOU who’s the first person to respond to a medical emergency. If cardiac (heart) problems are involved, then time is critical, and what we call the ‘Chain of Survival’ becomes important:
If you recognise the symptoms of cardiac arrest in someone you need to call 999 for an ambulance immediately, even before you start to help the patient yourself. If there are other people around, ask them to call the ambulance while you care for the patient.
CPR must be carried out right away, this can extend the time a person in cardiac arrest is able to recover by supplying oxygenated blood to vital organs until their heart can be re-started.
The defibrillator is a machine used to give an electric shock to a patient’s heart, when they are in cardiac arrest. The electric shock can make the heart start beating again. It should be used as quickly as possible if someone is in cardiac arrest.
Early Advanced Life Support
When ambulance staff arrive at a cardiac arrest patient, they will continue resuscitating them using specialist skills and equipment before taking them to hospital. It’s important to call an ambulance immediately if you see someone in cardiac arrest, so that they can receive the advanced care.
Further information and advice is available from the British Heart Foundation.