We've recently installed a potentially life-saving defibrillator at our head office in Oldham, to provide vital First Aid support for anyone suffering a cardiac arrest. With the HPP Oldham site now having over 200 staff plus a steady stream of trade customers and visitors to our trade counter and offices, it was deemed a worthwhile item of equipment that we hope we never have to use but in the event we do, it's there to save a life.
Defibrillators are easy to use and significantly improve the chance of survival for someone having a cardiac arrest, which can strike people at any age.
The automated machine detects if the person's heart is beating or has an irregular beat and then delivers controlled electric shocks to restart the heart, if needed. It is highly portable (no bigger than a large handbag) and comes with a kit containing everything required by the First Aider.
The defibrillator gives out clear, spoken instructions to the First Aider using it and it is clearly labelled for easy use. No special training is needed, although our First Aiders have received internal guidance on its use, and can direct other staff to bring it to them within a couple of minutes.
It has been fitted on a wall outside our boardroom, next to the office of managing director Keith Wardrope, so everyone knows where it is kept.
Defibrillators are typically used following the CPR chest compression and rescue breathing procedures, which are the first techniques to use in such cases. Another helper should call 999 for an ambulance.
Every minute without CPR or a defibrillator reduces the person's chance of survival by 10 per cent. It is vital to keep blood flowing around the body, especially the brain, which can quickly be damaged if starved of oxygen.
Andy Brooks, HPP's Health and Safety Officer, said: "The welfare of our staff and visitors is really important to us. Fitting a defibrillator in a well-known, accessible location at work illustrates the importance we place on everyone's welfare. Equally importantly, it also shows how fitting a defibrillator at work is an easy, practical step that every business can take towards saving lives."