Europe and Defibrillators: How They are Doing it Right!
When it comes to heart safety and preparedness, our friends across the pond have it completely figured out!
Over the past few years, Europe has made the world a bit safer through multiple additions of defibrillators in local towns, cities, communities, and tourist hot-spots! It seems that cities throughout Europe are recognizing the importance of these life-saving devices, and the local governments and public community are coming together to make the streets safer! Wondering how they are making such a big difference? Take a look at how Europe has improved the odds of SCA survival with their UNIQUE defibrillator and emergency assistance solutions!
Europe’s Phone-Booth Defibrillators
In Canada and the US, defibrillators are commonly found in public places such as gyms, airports, and occasionally in business-occupied buildings. Although it is not yet mandatory for every building to have an AED, it is becoming more common to offer these life-saving solutions to the public. With an increase in AED locations, getting access to a defibrillator has become easier. However, there are still challenges when faced with emergencies when out-and-about in local communities, downtown locations, and rural areas… But not in Europe!
If you happen to come across someone having a cardiac arrest in the streets of Europe, you will easily be able to find an AED nearby – they are everywhere! Not sure where to look? You can always spot an old-style telephone booth!
It may seem strange (or like something out of ‘Doctor Who’), but in Europe, defibrillator stations are built in old telephone booths! Through various online campaigns and trends, local communities decided that these booths no longer had much value with everyone having mobile phones. Instead of tearing down these unique landmarks, they decided to transform them into something helpful! Defibrillator stations! On each of these vintage phone booths, the words ‘defibrillator’ is broadcast around the top of the booth and a green or red AED sign (dependent upon where you are in Europe) will be observed on the side. To access the AEDs held within, you simply need to enter the code written directly upon the door handle to retrieve the defibrillator. These distinctive AED locations can be found in small towns, along a country road, or even in the busy streets of London!
PRO TIP: Depending where you are in Europe, Ireland tends to have green telephone booths whereas Britain has red booths. Both serving the same purpose – offering heart-starting assistance, should an emergency occur!
Emergency Assistance in Europe
Similar to Canada and the US, the use of apps (such as PulsePoint) on our mobile phones can now assist those in Europe facing emergency situations. The closeness of our phones ensures that we can call 911 (or 112 in Europe) right away and connect with others in the area and get help quicker. In the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, the GoodSAM app is there to find help fast!
The GoodSAM app is another emergency response app that you can download directly to your phone. This app identifies nearby AED locations, and alerts and guides those certified in first aid training to rush to your location. The app has amazing features including:
- Opportunity to add new defibrillator locations to the AED registry
- Access to ‘Patient Report Forms’
- Use of ‘Instant Video’
- Ability to find nearby defibrillators with the AED Tracker
- Option to connect with the ‘Push to Talk’ Radio
While you are travelling or visiting Europe, you have the potential to help those in need with this in-depth app. Heading out to the UK for a holiday? Be sure to download GoodSAM and register AED locations you notice along your travels!
You Can Make a Difference Too
With all of the success and impact that Europe is having, it is time for us to learn from their example! If you would like to see an increase in AEDs accessible to the public across the country, it is time to speak up! You can make a difference by:
- Purchasing an AED for your home
- Sending a letter to your local government regarding AED access
- Donating an AED to your community or local school
- Speaking directly to locations in your area (café, grocery store, gym, public transit, etc.) and encouraging them to invest in a defibrillator
Ready to send a letter to your government official to increase the access to AEDs in your city? Here is a letter template for you to fill out and send that will get the conversation started!
“To whom it may concern,
There is nothing more important than the public safety of our city, and as a active member in the community and a citizen of ___*your city*___, I would like to formally inquire about further safety programs that could be added to our city. Particularly the programs that could increase the likelihood of survival in case of heart attack and cardiac arrest in public.
Every minute that an individual does not receive the attention of a defibrillator, the survival rate decreases by 7-10%. But this can be changed. By simply having an AED (automatic external defibrillator) nearby, the chances of survival for that person doubles. This means that with easy access to these life-saving devices, we have the chance to save lives!
I would like to inquire about the installation of defibrillators in more public places across the city to offer this reassurance. With the addition of AEDs in our parks, sport facilities, buildings, community centers, and simply in public spaces outside we can save hearts!
If you would like more information on the installation and use of defibrillators, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be able to provide you with distributors of Philips AEDs in your area as well as AED information and pricing.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on progress in our city!
__* Your Name*__”
The more defibrillators that are available, the greater chance we have to save a life!
Have you found an AED recently? Register it on PulsePoint or share it on social media with the hashtag #AEDFound! The more word we can spread about these devices, the more we can help hearts in need!