Albufeira becomes first Portuguese municipality to have public defibrillators

in Algarve · 07-06-2018 13:51:00 · 0 Comments
Albufeira becomes first Portuguese municipality to have public defibrillators

Last Monday, the Algarve municipality of Albufeira became the first Portuguese municipality to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs), used to kick-start the heart in the event of sudden illness, dotted around town.

Thirteen AEDs have been placed in strategic public places around the city, as well as in two vehicles, one belonging to the local fire brigade, and the other to local police.
A total of 71 people – among them civilians, council employees, GNR and Municipal police officers and firefighters – have been trained and certified to use the life-saving devices.
Speaking to Região Sul, Albufeira Mayor João Carlos Rolo thanked the “availability of all volunteers who participated in this training.
“Altogether, about 170 people have now been trained (…). We are interested in creating more training groups, as the more people who know how to use the AEDs, the higher the success rate of the programme and, consequently, more lives will be saved.”
The AEDs are placed inside special boxes that are duly prepared and marked for the purpose, in proximity to key buildings, like the town hall, the city’s busiest streets, training grounds, and popular tourist spots.
Marco Castro, director of Blue Ocean Medical, the company that installed the AEDs, said: “This is an innovative programme at national and international level.

“I have been working in this field for 10 years and there is no system that has cabins on public streets with remote opening and GSM activation of the rescuers, as has the Municipality of Albufeira. What we see here is something very innovative and pioneering.”
According to Região Sul, the AED cabins are opened remotely by the Albufeira fire department, which operates 24 hours a day throughout the year.
When a booth is opened, all local rescuers are immediately contacted via an automatic telephone call, in a pioneering system, which allows resuscitation manoeuvres to be initiated more quickly, even before the arrival of 112, and thereby significantly increase the probability of survival.
“In 2017, we responded with our own means to about 100 cardiac arrest events, in which only seven were reversed. These seven situations benefited from the fact that they had been assisted by people who had immediately started the Basic First Aid procedures.
“Time is life, it makes a difference, and the municipality of Albufeira is to be congratulated for promoting this innovative programme”, said António Coelho, Commander of the Albufeira Firefighters.
Sudden cardiac death is caused by a cardiac arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation, which prevents the heart from pumping blood. The only effective treatment for fibrillation is electrical defibrillation, which consists of administering electrical shocks to the stopped heart, allowing the heart rhythm to return to normal. In these cases, the probability of survival is all the greater the less time has elapsed between fibrillation and defibrillation.
“This project should be recognised, disseminated and implemented in the rest of the region and the country. We all know that the only effective treatment for adult cardio-respiratory arrest, other than trauma, is defibrillation.
“And we also know that the earlier and more accessible treatment is to the victim, the better their odds of surviving and recovering the abilities they had before the event”, said Carlos Raposo, operational officer of the INEM paramedics’ Regional South – Algarve branch.
Any resident can join the team of local rescuers by attending a Basic Life Support (first aid) and AED course, duly certified by the INEM institute.


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