Fear factor: Defibrillators are not saving lives they should
DEFIBRILLATORS are becoming increasingly commonplace in the community, but they have one drawback says Ulmarra SES commander Wally Bridle. People are frightened of them.
Mr Bridle, who ran a defibrillator demonstration at the RFS Open Day at Ulmarra on Sunday, said this fear is totally misplaced as the machines were able to take users through each step of their life saving role.
"They're actually very easy to use," he said. "The two pads you apply to the chest of the patient have instructions on them showing exactly where they need to go," he said.
"The defibrillator itself has an on/off button you push. There is a voice in the machine that takes you through each step.
"All you have to do is just turn it on and follow those steps."
Mr Bridle said when preparing a patient for the defibrillator, there is no room for modesty.
"Take their shirt or blouse off completely. If they're wearing an underwire bra, get it off," he said.
"If they're worried about their modesty, they can recover it later after the defibrillator has saved their life."
Mr Bridle was demonstrating the machine to visiting Tasmanians Pat and Bob Child, from Bridport, who confirmed Mr Bridle's assessment of the public knowledge of defibrillators.
"We've got about five back home, but they're not used because people don't know how to use them," Mrs Child said.
"When we came past we decided we'd drop in and see what was going on."
Mr Bridle said a defibrillator works in a way that is surprising to many people.
"There's a popular misconception it starts the heart beating," he said. "In most heart attacks people's hearts are beating irregularly.
"The shock from the defibrillator actually stops the heart so it can begin beating again normally."