Knowing what to do in an emergency situation on your farm could mean the difference between life and death.
Teagasc research has shown that 74% of male farmers have four, or more, risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
This means they are three times more likely to have an acute cardiac event (stroke or heart attack) compared with those with fewer risk factors.
Knowing how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), also known as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and knowing how to use a defibrillator could buy you vital time while medical help arrives.
The Irish Heart Foundation emphasises the importance of early action.
The chain of survival consists of five vital links to saving a life. Each one can be the difference between life and death – and the first three links are up to you.1. Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and contacting the emergency services.2. Early CPR, with an emphasis on chest compressions.3. Rapid defibrillation.4. Effective advanced life support.5. Integrated post-cardiac arrest care.
If a person goes into cardiac arrest and the chain of survival is not activated immediately, that person’s chance of survival decreases by 10% for every minute that CPR and defibrillation are not being performed.
If CPR is not started within 10 minutes, the chance of survival is near zero.
How to use a defibrillator
There are over 10,000 defibrillators located in communities all across Ireland, whether located outside the local shop, the GAA club or the community hall.
There are many different brands but all are simple to use.
Here is advice from Gerry Breen of First Aid Supplies on when and how to use a defibrillator in the event of cardiac arrest. A defibrillator can be used by anyone, even people who have never used one before. If someone has collapsed and is unresponsive, check for breathing by looking, listening and feeling. If the person is not breathing, call 999/112 immediately and send someone for the nearest defibrillator while you begin CPR. That is the only chance of survival for someone in cardiac arrest.Once switched on, the defibrillator will guide you through what to do, including placing pads on the patient’s chest. You cannot deliver a shock to someone who does not need one – the defibrillator will analyse the patient and will tell you if a shock is required, so there is no need to be fearful.Continue CPR as required.
If a person is not breathing normally after an accident you should call for an ambulance and then, if you are able to, start CPR (also known as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) straight away.
CPR is a combination of rescue breaths and chest compressions to keep blood and oxygen circulating in the body. You don't have to do mouth to mouth to save a life.
Check that the person is unresponsive and not breathing.
Get someone to call 999 or 112 or call yourself. Start compressions - push hard and fast in the centre of the chest and do not stop till help arrives.
CPR on an adult 1. Place your hands on the centre of the person's chest and, with the heel of your hand, press down (4cm to 5cm) at a steady rate, slightly faster than one compression a second.2. After every 30 chest compressions, give two breaths.3. Pinch the person's nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth. Check that their chest rises. Give two rescue breaths, each over one second.4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.
CPR on a child
For children aged one to puberty (usually taken as 12 years).1. Open their airway by placing one hand on the child's forehead and gently tilting their head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose.2. Pinch their nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, check that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths.3. Place your hands on the centre of their chest and, with the heel of your hand, press down one-third of the depth of the chest using one or two hands.4. After every 30 chest compressions (at a steady rate, slightly faster than one compression a second), give two breaths.5. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.
CPR on babies under one1. Open the baby's airway by placing one hand on their forehead and gently tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose.2. Place your mouth over the mouth and nose of the infant and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, check that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths.3. Place two fingers in the middle of the chest and press down one third of the depth of the chest. After 30 chest compressions at a steady rate (slightly faster than one compression a second), give two breaths.4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.
Early health warnings you shouldn’t ignore
Farmers at high risk of heart disease – study