Did anyone catch the piece on radio 2's jeremy vine show yesterday (monday) on defibrillators? I was totally absorbed by it (to the extent that I pulled into a customers yard but didnt get out to book in until it finished). To say that it was a revelation was an understatement. I always though that they were big clumsy things on trolleys to be found in hospitals, that needed to be kept plugged into the mains when not in use and had paddles the size of small steam irons. I've seen some defibs (not many) in a couple of firms I've been to and always thought they were there more for show than anything else (although I still have my lingering doubts about some of the places given the amount of dust on the cases. I cant help but wonder if they still work, if anyone has checked the batteries this year.).
My own first aid training was quite a while back and although I remember it well and have had to put it to use on a number of occasions there was nothing at all about defibs. To be honest I would never have dreamed of trying to use one either even if it was appropriate to do so, partly through fear of incorrect use and destabilising a perfectly normal heart, and sadly in this day and age either being sued by the person I was trying to help or being arrested for assault!
You can imagine my surprise to learn that using them is as nearly idiot proof as its possible to make. Diagrams of where to attatch the electrodes - I had assumed you placed them on the chest. Comes from watching too many medical dramas on tv. Then all you do is turn it on and the machine itself performs a diagnosis on the heart and only admisters a shock when appropriate, so you cant get it wrong.
If anyone has the opportunity to, I would strongly recommend listening to it via iplayer.
My wife knows an ambulance driver who regularly arrives at her clinic with heart attack victims. She (the ambulance driver) says that if every shop, bank, supermarket etc. had a defibrillator on the premises, and someone trained in its use, thousands of lives might be saved every year.