More people should learn life-saving skills | Opinion

In a recent survey, three-quarters of people said they would not feel confident enough to act if they saw someone having a heart attack.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 8:35 am

One of the most constructive innovations of recent years has been the introduction of defibrillators in almost every community.

They are available in workplaces and public spaces like airports, shopping centres, community centres and railway stations. And, luckily for 69-year-old Michael Clarke, in gyms too.

They are known as public access defibrillators (Pads) because anyone can use them. However, according to that same survey, many people are scared to.

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You don’t need to be trained to use one – anyone can do it, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF). It says there are clear instructions about how to attach defibrillator pads. You cannot deliver an electric shock accidentally because the machine will only allow you to shock if the patient needs it.

All very well in theory, but wouldn’t you feel more inclined to step in to save someone’s life if you had some training behind you?

Again, luckily for Michael Clarke, the team at the gym at Gosport Leisure Centre had been trained and knew exactly what to do when he suffered a cardiac arrest while pedalling on an exercise bike.

He says: ‘They saved my life because they knew what to do and helped me until the paramedics got there and took me to QA where I stayed for two weeks.’

Of course, you would expect staff at a gym to be trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators, but would you know what to do if some one collapsed in front of you in the street? Possibly not.

Which is why we urge as many people as possible to take a course in CPR and defibrillation because you never know when the next Michael Clarke might need you to save his life.