1 October 2015 - NWAS Launches 'Shoctober' in a bid to find hidden defibrillators! Forgotten, lonely, gathering dust and tucked away in a corner – that’s the sad fate of many life-saving defibrillators which have been installed with good intentions by well-meaning members of the public, business owners and clubs. Now it’s time to ‘find the defib’ and make sure every single one in the region is logged on North West Ambulance Service’s database so they can be used to save a life. This month, the Trust launches it’s ‘Shoctober’ campaign to raise awareness of the importance of public defibrillators (AEDs) and to remind those who purchase and install them to make the Service aware of their location so they can be put to good use. It’s estimated that there are thousands of these life-saving portable machines in the North West which NWAS doesn’t know about so if someone calls 999 in the event of a cardiac arrest, the Trust can’t direct them to the nearest one. AEDs are small machines which can ‘shock’ a person’s heart into restarting and if this can be done in the vital first few minutes, patients have a 60-70 per cent chance of making a full recovery. They are easy to use, easy to carry and as they talks through the process, they won’t deliver a shock unless it is required. There is no clinical training required to be able to use the machine. Last year, the Trust attended 13,636 suspected cardiac arrest incidents in the region and this number increases year on year. NWAS Community Engagement Manager, Andrew Redgrave explains: “Earlier this year we launched our Cardiac Smart campaign to have the installation of AEDs in public places a legal requirement, in the same way that fire extinguishers are. We know that many people raise funds in their local area to have them installed but what they often do is forget to tell us they’ve done so. This means that we could get a call for a suspected cardiac arrest where this vital piece of kit is available and we can’t tell the caller to go and get it. The patient will receive the all important shock when the ambulance crew arrives but if they can be shocked even two or three minutes earlier by a member of the public, it can make a huge difference to their chances of survival.” The Trust knows that many large business such as hotel chains, factories, shopping centres and smaller organisations such as social and sports clubs raise funds and install AEDs and is asking the public to ‘find the defib’ and let NWAS know. The location of AEDs can sometimes be marked with a sign showing a white heart on a green background, or they could just be mounted on a wall behind bars, in corridors, gyms, leisure centres, offices, tourist attractions, schools, colleges, restaurants, coffee shops – anywhere at all! If you see one, take a selfie with it and you can either tweet the photo via @NWambulance using the hashtag #findthedefib, giving as much information as possible regarding its location. Or, send the photo via North West Ambulance Service’s Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org If you don’t want to send a photo, just mail the location details and NWAS will make sure the device is logged on the system and ready to use in the event of an emergency. Throughout the month of October, NWAS will post photos of AEDs around the region via its social media sites and wants as many people as possible to feature in the ‘Shoctober’ campaign. The Trust will also feature those whose lives have been saved by a public defibrillator and hopefully, there’ll be a few famous faces taking part with a ‘defib selfie’. Please help your ambulance service to help you. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a cardiac arrest, don’t you want the person next to you to be able to save your life?