Heartstart Thatcham, who teach Emergency Life Support skills for free, were in the Kennet Centre on Saturday to mark the installation of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
A cardiac arrest is where the heart is no longer pumping blood around the body and is usually in the form of Ventricular Fibrilation. It is vital that CPR is started as soon as possible, but to give the best possible chance of survival an AED is used with CPR. An AED will shock the heart but will only do so if required – it cannot be applied if no shock is needed.
The AED has been placed in the Kennet Centre security office which is staffed 24/7. To access it you can :
(1) Go into any shop in the Kennet Centre and tell them you need the AED, they will then get security to bring it down.
(2) Go to security.
(3) Go to any shop elsewhere in the town that is on the ShopSafe network. Shops that are on this network and able to get the AED will display a red AED symbol.
L ocations with an AED in the building will display a universal green AED symbol.
In any medical emergency you should ring 999, if you need an AED and do not know where it is the operator will tell you where it is and how to access it.
Funding for this AED came largely from a team of Thames Valley Police officers led by PC Kieren Baker who in 2014 climbed Pen Y Fan. Nick Young, Heartstart Thatcham Scheme Coordinator, PC Baker and Richard Farley, Service Manager at Kennet Centre, worked together to make the installation possible.
The installation of AEDs is being led by Heartstart Thatcham who are working with South Central Ambulance Service, Thatcham Town Council, Thatcham Neighbourhood Wardens, Thatcham Rotary, West Berkshire Council and many others.
The idea is to provide AEDs that can be used by the public, without training, on casualties in cardiac arrest. The devices cannot be misused and will not shock unless it is required.
Nick said, “We have had a lot of people interested in the AED and what it does with lots actually trying our training AED for themselves.
“The day has been a huge success with many now knowing the Kennet Centre has an AED, how to access it and being able to use it.”
The team already have Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) installed elsewhere, including Henwick Worthy Sports Field, and plan to install many more throughout Thatcham and Newbury.