Heart attack help closer at hand

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 8:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 8:32pm

People suffering a cardiac arrest in a public place will have a better chance of survival following the installation of more defibrillators in sports and cultural venues around Hong Kong.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) installed automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in 80 parks and sports grounds earlier this month and by June there will be devices in 174 other locations.

The devices were installed in all public swimming pools, water sports centres and beaches two years ago.

The LCSD is also encouraging the public to learn how to use them so they can help save lives in an emergency.

“AEDs are easy for anyone to use,” said chief leisure manager of land-based venues, Alice Heung Ching-yee. “You can manage it if you can use a mobile phone, or even if you don’t. Learning how AEDs work may help your family, friends or others around you.”

Those interested in learning can undertake training courses at the Auxiliary Medical Service, Fire Services Department, Hospital Authority and other organisations.

AEDs are portable electronic devices that help restore a regular heartbeat in patients who have a cardiac arrest. Studies had shown that using the device on a patient within the first five minutes of the arrest could increase survival rates by 50 per cent, Heung said.

Last week, a man collapsed at a football pitch in Lok Fu and a newly installed AED was used on him before the ambulance arrived.

As of the end of last month, AEDs in pools, water sports centres and on beaches had been used 34 times.

The AEDs are usually installed outside the venue’s offices or toilet blocks, where they are easily accessible and noticeable.

More than 1,300 department staff have been trained to use the defibrillators and the LCSD is continuing to provide training courses.

The department also plans to install AEDs in 56 major cultural venues including libraries, performance venues and museums by mid-year.

A total of 310 AEDs will be installed during the project. Each costs about HK$10,000.