NAT 190926 Automated External Defibrillator  2-1569508190603
Khalifa Hassan Al Drai, executive director of Dubai Corporation of Ambulance Services presents an Automated External Defibrillator to Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul during the Save Hearts campaign at the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Thursday. Pix by Sajila Saseendran Image Credit:

Dubai

Private and government entities, places of worship and other venues in Dubai will be given a life-saving device to revive people suffering from cardiac arrests, the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) revealed on Thursday.

The DCAS will give away 80 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) by the end of this year, officials said after presenting an AED to the Indian Consulate in Dubai during a World Heart Day event organised by the mission.

The corporation has given away 22 AEDs to various government entities and private partners, including the St. Mary’s Church in Dubai and the Indian Consulate is the first mission to receive the device, announced Khalifa Hassan Al Drai, executive director of DCAS.

The plan is to distribute a total of 80 AEDs to various entities by the end of the year and offer training to chosen volunteers on how to use them in case of cardiac emergencies, he said.

This is part of a campaign titled “My City Saves Me” as the corporation aims to form a large pool of volunteers to serve the entire emirate so that help is at hand in case of cardiac emergencies, said Dr. Saif Ahmad Salem Ahmad Darwish, head of communication and public relation section at DCAS.

The defibrillator is used to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a medical condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.

Notification to ambulance

Dr. Darwish said the micro-chipped device is connected to the DCAS control room and it sends out a notification to the control room when a trained volunteer opens the device.

“Once it is opened, we will get a notification with the location to dispatch the ambulance. When the AED is used to give electric shock to the patient, it reads the heart rate and creates an ECG. Our ambulance staff can see these reports and paramedics can be prepared for the treatment before they arrive at the location.”

The device gives out instructions in 15 languages, including English, Arabic and Hindi.

Dr. Darwish said the Corporation plans to connect the pool of trained volunteers through its app called “Help Me” that was launched last year to reduce the response time to attend emergency cases.

“When the registered volunteers are connected through the app, we will know who is available closest to a patient and that volunteer can then help the patient before the ambulance arrives.”

He said the Corporation is on its way to achieve its ambitious goal of cutting down the response time to four minutes from the international standard of eight minutes.

“We are already achieving that target in 40 to 50 percent of the calls we receive.”

Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul, who received the AED from Al Drai, thanked the Corporation for the gesture.

“That is a fantastic use of technology for saving lives. Certainly in emergency situations this will help.”

He said the Consulate receives about 300 to 400 visitors a day and regularly organizes community functions of its own or for the community associations. The device will be used “anytime should a situation arises here. We can also share it when there is a large congregation of the community members.”

The DCAS will train consulate employees to use the device.

They were already trained in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) during the Save Hearts Campaign conducted at the mission by Zulekha Hospital.

The event on Thursday was held as part of the Fit India campaign to raise awareness about increasing rates of heart attack deaths among Indian expats.

Vipul and doctors from Zulekha Hospital urged the Indian community members to make lifestyle changes and do regular physical activities to remain fit and healthy.

What is an AED?

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a medical device used to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a medical condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.

The Lifepak CR2 AED used by DCAS is one of the latest defibrillators. It is linked to the control room of the DCAS and can send out notifications about a cardiac emergency case including the location, heart rate and ECG of the patient.

If this device detects an abnormal heartbeat, it may advise the user that a high-energy shock is necessary. The user interface will provide voice and text/icon instructions to guide the user through the rescue process including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

If a defibrillation shock is required, the device will either prompt the user to deliver an electrical or automatically deliver an electrical shock through the electrodes.

The combination of CPR and defibrillation therapy is highly effective in saving patient lives when used in the first few minutes following collapse from sudden cardiac arrest. Use of the device can reduce the time in cardiac arrest and increase the chance of survival.