New website launched to aid cardiac patients

A scheme to help emergency heart victims has been set up in the West Midlands.

First AidEver wondered what you would do if a family member, friend or colleague collapsed due to a cardiac episode? West Midlands Ambulance Service, working in collaboration with Safeheart UK and the Community Heartbeat charity, has recently launched a unique website that could help you save the life of your nearest and dearest.

Defib Finder  is a unique website that allows members of the public to find the local of their nearest defibrillator, a device that can be used to restart someone’s heart when they’ve suffered a cardiac arrest. This simple to use website allows a user to search for their nearest defibrillator by typing in a postcode or area name. The finder will then show all the defibrillators in the vicinity and also provides directions to the location by car or by foot.

The website, which has taken three years to set up, currently covers the West Midlands region, which includes Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It is hoped that in the future the website will hold a national database.

The site also shows when a defibrillator was last used, how many people are trained to use specific device, when each defibrillator is due for a maintenance check amongst many other useful tools.

Duncan Parsonage, Community Response Manager for West Midlands Ambulance Service, explains why the website could be vital to helping to save lives: “In such situations your first port of call should always be to dial 999 and commence CPR, but more often than not there are other people around who could help by fetching a defibrillator.

“85% of those people who suffer cardiac arrests have the ability to be corrected by defibrillation. The quicker someone is defibrillated, not only improves the chance of their survival but also those of a patient’s full recovery. For every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases by ten per cent.”

Jim O’Halleran, chairman of Safeheart UK said: “We are delighted that we have achieved this first step towards the creation of a national database of public access defibrillators. If this website can help save lives then the work put into creating it will have been well worth all the effort.”

Organisations interested in finding out more about the website or installing a  public access defibrillator scheme through West Midlands Ambulance Service can do so by either contacting Duncan Parsonage via [email protected] or by visiting the Trust website and following the link ‘our services’  followed by ‘community first responders’.