Defibrillators have been around since the sixties in some shape and form, but more recently have become popular at properties. They’re often a bright-coloured box or pack either inside or just outside a property which people will probably assume is for some emergency use but not realise just exactly what they do and how they we it.
They can literally be lifesaving. When the rhythm of people’s hearts is affected by whatever life-threatening illness, these machines will help produce an electrical impulse through the chest to the heart in order to re-establish regular beats.
Although this is usually for the expertise of the medical services of course, when you’re in a sudden life-and-death situation where there is not enough time for them to arrive, then these packs can be available there-and-then at a property for laymen to use on people themselves.
They’re available in other non-property forms, with the police being one example of carrying mobile ones in vehicles, whereas in this context they are being made available at a property for a variety of people to potentially use. Hence their popularity in places of work like office blocks and even retail areas, and in public spaces and buildings.
Whilst you can glean lots of medical and technical information from other sources like the Heart Foundation, in this property management context it’s important to see how these can practically be installed and then operated at properties.
Although there are issues to clarify with everyone, when people realise the purpose of this and the potential saving of lives through it then they do easily come on board and work together to instigate these – whether the ultimate property owner and landlord, any tenant and occupiers, or middle-parties like managing agents.
So in terms of what issues to consider when installing them at properties, here are some of the top ones:
1. Location, Location, Location
Like the location of a property is key to derive value and beneficial use, the location of the defibrillator is key to make sure it’s easily available for the right people to use. One rule of thumb is to only be a brisk-walk of up to 90 seconds from an incident to a usable defribilator.
First check if there are others in adjacent buildings and areas that could be used, and if you are arranging for your property then if there is a better location so that more people can use it.
So, a tenant in a multiple-let property may work with the landlord to place in the communal reception area for other occupiers to also use, or even outside the property for other nearby visitors and walkers by.
2. Include in Everyone’s Health & Safety Policies
Whatever the outcome is, make sure it’s all clearly documented not only as a separate issue by, say, minutes and correspondence, but included within everyone’s own procedures for Health and Safety. So First Aiders really need to include and know how to use it and inform others, and any incidents logged through their own Accident Form and even RIDDOR reporting.
3. Who Pays the Bill
Okay, the principle is good, but there is a cost to these, anything up to a few thousand pounds once you include any extras like training and electricity connection. For the person who first needs to pay the bill, there may be forms of grants aid and even finance available to fund this.
In addition, there can be ways of sharing the costs with others, whether by choice and mutual agreement or formal ways such as through service charges with leases in multi-let properties.
4. Keeping up the Checks
Once installed, they should be pretty much indestructible, although a form of visually checking these is prudent. This is probably just a glance at the right light being on and making sure that no damage to the box or pack exists.
So maybe every month make a definite point of checking by someone at the property, with a clear way of logging this and knowing who this person us (ideally the person who ultimately owns and is liable for this).
5. Top up the Training
The good news is that these are easier to use then people think, and in actual fact there will be clear instructions either from the machine itself or the emergency services at the end of the phone. Also, technology means that once the pads are on people’s chests and receiving data about that particular person, then the actual instructions being spoken can be tailor-made.
So check with the provider and any advisors, and then how this is communicated in simple steps and procedures.
For larger and more complicated scenarios there can be one-off training arranged as well to go through things in more detail.
6. Powered Up
The rule of thumb is that defibrillators inside a property can run on batteries, whereas ones outside need an electricity supply to power the heaters and locks.
So those that do need an electrical supply will not only require an electrician to practically connect, but an agreement for someone to pay the cost of the electricity going forward and being responsible for making sure that there is no power cut.
It shouldn’t be a high cost, so it may be worth agreeing a feed from a nearby power source rather than the cost of a whole new supply or extension to, say, a communal landlord’s supply.
7. Getting Remote Connection
You can be connected by remote wireless means, therefore enabling instant knowledge of any problems emerging and connection to emergency services.
There is a cost for this though, sometimes double the non-connected cost, but in certain scenarios worth every penny.
8. Emergency Services
You can also log with the emergency services that you have a defibrillator now in action, particularly important in an area where other people and neighbours could benefit from the use of it.
This means that if someone calls 999, say, next door, the emergency services can detect that there is such a machine nearby once their address is known and advise them to use it whilst the ambulance arrives.
9. Maintenance and Repairs
As with other things, be clear on what needs doing in future and who does it. Warranties may be available, and regular parts like batteries and packs needing replacement, perhaps every few years.
Go on, Look at Installing a Defribilator
Therefore, looking to install defibrillator at a property, whether in a straigh forward area that you’re in control of, or needing to involve others and communal areas, can be worth every penny and time spent on this when it comes to saving lives.
Cost wise, there can be ways to help cover this and spread out, and practically they can be easily installed and managed afterwards.
Going through the above practical pointers alongside a specialist in defibrillators can therefore help iron out the detail and make sure these are up and running as soon as possible.
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