THROUGH the years I have written many stories about fund-raising activities in a bid to buy defibrillators, and while I knew it was a machine to aid people in CPR, I had never seen one and had never seen one in action.
That is until I was given the opportunity to chat to Colin Dawson, who has been providing lifesaving training to the people of Burton and, now, the wider community, for six years.
A former major player of St John Ambulance since he was just nine-years-old, Colin left the organisation after being offered a contract from a major company who wanted his first aid training skills.
Since then, ABC Training Services Ltd, in Anglesey Road, Burton, has gone from strength to strength and now provides first aid volunteers at most major events in and around Burton, and as far flung as Leicester and Stafford.
However, the concept of defibrillators is still relatively new and Colin has only been in the market of selling them for less than a year.
At £900 plus VAT, it may not come to cheap some, but as Colin says: “What is the cost of a life?”
I would have thought the lifesaving machines should only be used by the professionals with years of training but apparently not.
I learnt how to use it within minutes.
I admit I am one of the 95 per cent of the population with no first aid training, apart from earning my lifesavers badge during swimming lessons before my teenage years kicked in.
With Colin’s guidance, I opened the box and switched it on. Looking at the pictures you take the pads and stick them on to the patient’s bare chest, and simply listen to instructions, and yelling ‘stand clear’ to any crowds who have subsequently gathered.
Linking your hands together on the chest, make 30 chest compressions to the sound of the beat on the machine, followed by two breaths into the patient’s mouth.
Colin says facts and figures speak for themselves. One early champion of defibrillators is Chicago Airport which shows just how important these new devices are.
”It had 41 defibrillators in two terminals. It was taken out to be checked and found it had been taken out 21 times. Two times because people had been nosy. It had been used 19 times. 17 people out of those 19 had survived.”
Quite a frightening fact is the brain starts to die after three minutes of a heart attack, so quick-thinking is the key.
After starting the chest compression, I wasn’t pushing down hard enough – slightly concerned that I would break a body part.
Colin said: “There is difference between professional CPR from a paramedic and a lay person’s CPR as they are scared of compressing the chest too deep.
”They need to press about 6cm to 7cm down.”
Pushing that hard to the time of the beat of the machine can take a lot out of you but if put in a life or death situation you wouldn’t notice.
After your patient is safely in the ambulance, all that is left to do is change batteries (for those who have had training to do so) and download the information which can be used as evidence in a coroners’ court.
It is easy to see why these machines are becoming more popular, Colin has sold 13 this year and has trained 100 people in their use.
He takes his own machine, as well as a specially adapted ambulance to events he provides first aid to such as Burton Albion matches, the Regatta, Motocross, Burton and Ashby statutes and much more.
He has been given a helping hand by companies including Mobile Solutions of Derby who donated the livery for the ambulance, while First Base Self Storage who donated ambulance parking for free.