Commit to save lives in your community

Steven Pratten with an automated external defibrillator.
Steven Pratten with an automated external defibrillator.

For every minute that goes by without treatment, the chance of a cardiac arrest patient surviving decreases by 10 per cent.

That’s why EMAS are calling on groups and schools in rural communities to get in touch with them about purchasing a life-saving public access defibrillator

EMAS community response manager Steven Pratten said: “What these machines do is amazing.

“That’s why these are becoming more common nowadays, and they’re incredibly simple to use and affordable.

“Going back 10 years you were looking at a machine sat on a trolley, in some cases costing tens of thousands of pounds. Now you’re looking at under £1,000.”

Mr Pratten, 40, heads up the community response arm of EMAS, a department which is responsible for approving the location of public access defibrillators (PADs), also known as automated 
external defibrillators (AEDs), and training people in 
the community how to use them.

Lasting two hours, the sessions are led by community resuscitation trainers on-site and include both how to use the PADs and how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Groups are usually made up of around 12 people, but at a recent training session more than 20 keen villagers attended.

The session was run by Mr Pratten, who is 
based at EMAS’s Lincoln headquarters.

Every week in the UK, 12 children of school age have a sudden cardiac arrest.

He said: “We deliver training which is more of a confidence thing because the machine itself talks people through everything it wants them to do.”

Some 300 defibrillators are located around Lincolnshire. But not all of these have public access – some are static machines which are installed by businesses and other organisations for staff and customers.

Mr Pratten and his team are working on increasing 
the number of these life-saving machines across the county.

He said: “The more defibrillators out 
there the better, especially with the rurality of Lincolnshire.

“With cardiac arrests, everyone thinks of elderly people or middle-aged people who smoke or drink too 
much.

“It might surprise you that every week in the UK, 12 children of school age have a sudden cardiac arrest, undiagnosed.”

Mr Pratten would 
encourage any groups thinking of buying a defibrillator to call his team first. For more email 
steven.pratten@emas.
nhs.uk