From Our What'sUp? Workshop 07 July 2021 

An interesting question raised at the forum was whether anybody could use a defibrillator and would they know how to actually use it. Would this lead to hesitation before helping a collapsed colleague at work, and concern that you might harm them? 
 
Scary stuff. But it needn’t be. 
 
Most of us are fortunately rarely confronted with a real life-or-death situation at work, and we often just don’t know how we would react if a colleague just collapsed next to us – would we run around like a headless chicken, or freeze, or just calmly take control? 
Defibrillators (or defibs, fully known as Automatic External Defibrillators - AED) are dotted around in public places – often on the wall of community or church buildings, or in repurposed telephone boxes – and in commercial, hospitality or retail places. A number of corporate businesses also install them. 
 
There is no legislation that states that anyone must have a defib, though. 
 
And because they are less common than a first aid kit, and they’re an electronic device, there’s a sort of mystique about them. 
 
So how to overcome that lack of confidence: 
 
Firstly, if you have any on-premises, you need to make sure that the time-limited components (usually pads) are in-date, and you can include this device in your regular checks. Also make sure that it is in the right place and the location is shown on your health and safety board. 
 
Secondly, talk about it. Let your staff know that should it be needed, they will not be able to cause harm – the devices are designed that way. 
 
Thirdly, it’s a good idea to have a “toolbox talk” to show how to use one. For this, it might be sensible to bring in a separate trainer to demonstrate on a dummy, and to walk everyone through the stages. A good trainer will make it clear in an easygoing way. They will also often have a “trainer” AED that isn’t going to break your own. 
 
Finally, if you have the tools, why not bring the skills and offer a Heartstart training session. This doesn’t need to be a certified course, and could be demonstrated by an in-house first aid trained member of staff. It gives people more confidence that it doesn’t need to be scary. 
 
..and it could save a life! 
 
 
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