Premier berth-holders were invited to an educational workshop this week at Port Solent. This was well attended, and after coffee and cake we were treated to an excellent demonstration of CPR and a defibrillator by Liz Baugh of Red Square Medical.  Liz is ex-Navy, highly experienced and very knowledgeable about the challenges of delivering First Aid at sea. Although I have had First Aid training I still learned a lot as recommendations have changed.  We are now encouraged to do hands-only CPR (see the Vinnie Jones demonstration video below) because it is more important to keep blood flowing around the body – think of it as a manual bilge pump while someone is coming to you with an electric one. The body can keep going on the existing oxygen in the blood for 4-5 minutes so with any luck you can get the heart going again before having to puff any more air in , which is the bit many people don’t fancy. (Having done it, I can tell you it isn’t that bad in the circumstances.)

The next demonstration was the use of a defibrillator – something most people are vaguely aware of but wouldn’t know how to use one even if they had one in their hands. They have a vital role in resuscitation, and there are many defibrillators around the country accessible in an emergency so it is very useful to know how they work. Download the AED UK app on your phone or use Heartsafe on a browser to see where they are.

A defibrillator is a completely automated way of doing a “re-boot” of a heart: Ctrl+Alt+Delete if you like. This stops the heart doing crazy things so it is more likely to respond to CPR. The machine needs to be connected to the patient, then it will analyse what needs to be done. The machine actually talks you through everything so you can’t do the wrong thing with it. Here’s a rather less amusing but very useful video showing how to use it.

If you can’t attend a demonstration of Hands-Only CPR and a defibrillator I strongly recommend you at least watch these videos and replay them in your mind. It could help you save a life one day – maybe the life of a loved one.

See a following post for a report of the Air-Sea Rescue presentation by ex-Navy pilot Jonathan Turner of MAST Consultancy on the same night.