According to research conducted by MUMC+, the Dutch initiative of placing automated external defibrillators – AEDs in neighbourhood hubs, allowing citizen assistance in resuscitation has been successful. Figures show that the victim survives in 27% of the cases in situations where citizens can help before the ambulance arrives. In situations where quick medical response from a layperson is not engaged the survival rate is 16%.
One has a greater chance of surviving a heart attack if an AED is available in addition to the regular emergency services. MUMC+ researcher Ruud Pijls analysed 422 resuscitations across the province of Limburg. A civilian was involved in 291 cases. In these cases 27% of the victims survived, compared to 16% in situations where there was no civillian involvement prior to emergency services arriving. In short, the system works. Every resident can sign up as a civilian operator and then follow a CPR course. A group of civilian operators then receive a telephone call as soon as a victim is in need of their assistance in their immediate vicinity. The civilian operator should then hurry to the victim or to the nearest defibrillator and begin CPR until the emergency services arrive.
Interested in becoming a civillian CPR operator? The following information can be found at HartslagNU.nl where you can register to become one.
The crucial time for a cardiac arrest is the first six minutes. The sooner someone is resuscitated, the greater the chance of life and life with minimal damage. For professional assistance, it is often difficult to reach a victim within this time. As a civilian counselor you start first aid in those critical minutes.
Your job as a civilian counselor
When 112 is called, the Ambulance Care control room determines whether it is a possible cardiac arrest. If this is the case, the citizens closest to the victim will automatically receive an alarm call. You go to the victim (or get an AED first, depending on the call) and you already start the resuscitation. This can be done manually or with the help of an AED. You resuscitate until the ambulance has arrived and professionals take over the work from you.
How am I alerted?
When it is determined that it is a possible cardiac arrest, the civilian emergency services that are close to the victim, within a radius of 750 meters, are automatically alerted. As a volunteer you will receive a message on your phone, by app or by text message. You are asked to go directly to the victim or first pick up a public AED and then go on site.
Who can become an operator?
Anyone who can perform CPR and who is 18 years or older can register with HartslagNu. The more people who are connected to the network, the better. You can only register as a counselor if you have followed a recognized CPR training. It is important to follow a refresher course every year.
Provide help whenever you want
You provide assistance whenever you can. For example, you may not be able to leave your place immediately. And, if you know in advance that you are not or cannot be called, you can also indicate this. You can set this in your profile in the app or on MijnHartSlagNu. This way you always have control over whether or not you are called up or go to a CPR.
Register as a citizen operator when you can perform CPR. In addition, you must also want to resuscitate if necessary. Are you already a professional operator? Even then your registration is very welcome!