Heart defibrillators can save people who go into sudden cardiac arrest and the Cayman Heart Fund is on a mission to supply businesses and homes with these life-saving devices.
Demand for the equipment, known as automated external defibrillators or AEDs, is increasing, said Sue Rajah of the Cayman Heart Fund, which is ordering 10 machines at a time.
Now, for every 12 AEDs sold, the fund is donating a free one to an organisation, business or worthy cause, said Dr. Sook Yin, medical director of the Cayman Heart Fund.
So far, the fund has donated AED machines to the Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac, the Cayman Islands Red Cross and, most recently, to Body Sculptor Gym.
The Red Cross trains people how to use AEDs and also how to perform CPR in its First Aid courses.
“The AED recently donated by Cayman Heart Fund to the Cayman Islands Red Cross will be used in making up our First Response kits, issued to volunteers when they cover sports and social events. It allows us to provide cover at two consecutive events, as we now have two AEDs, thanks to the CHF donation,” said Peter Hughes, first aid director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross.
Ernest Ebanks of Body Sculptor Gym has worked with the Cayman Heart Fund’s War on Weight competition since its inception four years ago. Contestants who battle for 16 weeks to lose weight in the competition undergo Mr. Ebanks’ tough boot camps as part of their exercise regime.
“I am very proud that the CHF donated an AED unit to Ernest at Body Sculptor, as he done so much for the community in addressing obesity and it’s great when the community can publicly recognise his efforts,” said Cheyenna Hoaglund-Stewart, the War on Weight committee chair.
Defibrillators cost $1,800, which includes training and installation.
The machines are used in the “chain of survival” for heart attack victims, which includes immediately calling 911 and giving CPR until a defibrillator becomes available.
The easy-to-use device electronically analyses a person’s heart rhythm to determine if a shock is required. A computer generated voice will direct the operator of the AED what to do and when to press the button to deliver the shock, if necessary. The machine will not shock a person who does not need to be shocked.
The earlier CPR and defibrillation can be delivered following cardiac arrest, the higher the chances of survival for a cardiac arrest victim.
According to research, for every minute that passes without defibrillation, the chances of survival falls by 14 per cent.
For more information on AED installation and training, contact the Cayman Heart Fund at 916-6324 or email [email protected]