The lost defibrillators of the Sevenoaks District

When Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in Copenhagen at the start of the 2020 European Championships, the fast use of a defibrillator no doubt saved his life. So we decided to investigate our own defibrillators in the Sevenoaks District and were shocked that only 11 were registered. We set about trying to find the lost defibrillators and here they are, along with some handy tips on when and how to use them.

After receiving a throw-in during the match against Finland, Christian Eriksen fell to the ground. No one was near him and everyone struggled to understand what had happened. Eriksen was lying motionless and it quickly became clear something was very wrong.

The experienced Danish defender Simon Kjær was one of the first to understand the situation’s severity, along with his teammates Thomas Delaney and Joachim Mæhle, Finland’s goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, and the referee, England’s Anthony Taylor. Kjær rushes to Eriksen, puts him on his side and makes sure his airway is open. The 32-year-old is later praised by the team doctors for having played a vital part in saving Eriksen’s life.

As Kjær is tending to Eriksen, two brothers rush on. They are Morten and Anders Boesen. Morten is the team doctor, Anders the stadium doctor. They also work for FC Copenhagen, who own and play at Parken, and at a public and a private hospital. The two are former elite badminton players.

When they get to Eriksen, it is clear to TV viewers that the situation is very bad. Thankfully the defibrillator is produced quickly and together with the heart massage it revives Eriksen. “He was gone,” Morten said the following day. “We started the resuscitation and we managed to do it. How close were we to losing him? I don’t know but we got him back after one [shock], so that’s quite fast.”

In that very moment of someone experiencing a cardiac arrest, anyone who is in attendance should try to locate a defibrillator, but not before contacting the emergency services. The main priority is to try to restore that cardiac rhythm allowing the heart to pump blood again, which can be achieved through standard CPR.

What is CPR?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a simple life-saving technique given to someone in cardiac arrest. It aims to take over the job of the heart and lungs by keeping blood and oxygen flowing through the body.

A cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical problem in the heart which then stops pumping blood around the body and brain. CPR incorporates chest compressions – pushing ‘hard and fast’ in the centre of the chest between the nipples to the beat of ‘Staying Alive’ – and rescue breaths. Without CPR, the person will die within minutes.

Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in the home. Learn CPR and one day you might be able to save the life of a loved one.

Could you Restart a heart?
The South East Coast Ambulance Service support the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Restart A Heart’ campaign every year. Volunteers and members of staff use their free time to go in to schools and colleges to teach CPR to every child.

In 2018 they taught 10,886 children CPR, a vital skill that can help save thousands of lives. Unfortunately, due to the Covid pandemic, last year this couldn’t take place and a whole academic year missed the opportunity of learning this crucial skill. This year they are offering the option of virtual lessons as well as face-to-face lessons (depending on government guidelines) and all within current Covid-19 restrictions.

They would love your school to get involved and get the children learning one of the most important skills they could leave school with. Simply go to www.sevenoakssports.co.uk/restart-a-heart where you will be redirected to the South East Coast Ambulance Service’s online form.

What is a defibrillator?
A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation, and it’s an essential part in trying to save the life of someone who’s in cardiac arrest. A defibrillator may also be referred to as a defib, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) or a PAD (Public Access Defibrillator).

You don’t need to be trained to use a defibrillator – anyone can use it. They are simple and easy to use and you don’t need any training. There are clear instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads. It then assesses the heart rhythm and will only instruct you to deliver a shock if it’s needed. You can’t deliver a shock accidentally, the defibrillator will only allow you to shock if it is needed.

It has been said that to help someone who is in cardiac arrest effectively, a defibrillator needs to be found as quickly as possible. For every minute it takes for the defibrillator to reach someone and deliver a shock, their chances of survival reduce.

However, in a recent survey, three quarters of people said they wouldn’t feel confident enough to act if they saw someone having a cardiac arrest. With more CPR training and greater awareness, the British Heart Foundation and SECAMB are trying to change that.

Advice on how to use a defibrillator from the British Heart Foundation
Defibrillators are very easy to use. Although they don’t all look the same, they all function in broadly the same way. You don’t need training to use one. The machine gives clear spoken instructions – all you have to do is follow them – and it won’t shock someone unless they need it.

If you come across someone who is unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing or not breathing normally, they’re in cardiac arrest. The most important thing is to call 999 and start CPR to keep the blood flowing to the brain and around the body. After a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.

If you’re on your own, don’t interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it’s possible, send someone else to find one. When you call 999, the operator can tell you if there’s a public access defibrillator nearby.

To use a defibrillator, follow these simple steps:

• Step 1: Turn the defibrillator on by pressing the green button and follow its instructions.
• Step 2: Peel off the sticky pads and attach them to the patient’s skin, one on each side of the chest, as shown in the picture on the defibrillator.
• Step 3: Once the pads have been attached, stop CPR and don’t touch the patient. The defibrillator will then analyse the patient’s heart rhythm.
• Step 4: The defibrillator will assess whether a shock is needed and if so, it will tell you to press the shock button. An automatic defibrillator will shock the patient without prompt. Do not touch the patient while they are being shocked.
• Step 5: The defibrillator will tell you when the shock has been delivered and whether you need to continue CPR.
• Step 6: Continue with chest compressions and rescue breaths until the patient shows signs of life or the defibrillator tells you to stop so it can analyse the heartbeat again.

The Circuit
Currently, each of the 14 ambulance services across the UK have their own defibrillator database for their area. The Circuit brings this information together into one database.

As defibrillators are registered on The Circuit, their location and status is instantly synchronised with the emergency services’ systems ensuring that their information is always up to date and ready to help save lives. It is the key to making sure that whenever and wherever a cardiac arrest happens, the people on the scene can get to the nearest working defibrillator quickly.

Whether it’s in a local pub, shopping centre or office, every defibrillator matters, registration could be the difference between life and death.

It is already up and running in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as regions within England including the West and East Midlands. The remaining UK ambulance services, including SECAMB, will be connected over the course of 2021 and 2022.

As of the start of July 2021, there were only nine devices registered online with the National Defibrillator database from the Sevenoaks District. It is imperative that all devices should now be registered with SECAMB and The Circuit in order for the emergency services to utilise them.

We are urging everyone who has a defibrillator to ensure that it is registered correctly so that the wider community can benefit from the devices’ location.

Defibrillators of the Sevenoaks District
Below is a list of the defibrillators of the Sevenoaks District. When Sevenoaks Sport & Wellbeing started the research we found just 11 defibrillators, there are now over 91 recorded. We are sure that there are even more in the area so we are continuing to work with the South East Coast Ambulance Service, the British Heart Foundation and local groups to make sure they are all recorded accurately. Please get in contact if you know the whereabouts of a defibrillator that is not on our list.

Badgers Mount (2)
• Badgers Mount Village Hall
• Polhill Garden Centre

Bessels Green (1)
• Park Place

Bough Beech (1)
• The Wheatsheaf

Brasted (2)
• Brasted Montessori Pre-School
• Brasted Village Shop

Charcott (1)
• Little Green (Greyhound Pub)

Chipstead (1)
• Chipstead Football Club

Cowden (1)
• Cowden Village Hall

Crockenhill (1)
• Crockenhill Village Hall

Crockham Hill (1)
• Crockham Hill

Dunton Green (5)
• Bojangles
• Dunton Green Pavilion
• Dunton Green Village Hall
• The Bed Post
• The Gym Building

Edenbridge (10)
• Edenbridge Centre
• Edenbridge Fire station
• Edenbridge Hospital
• Edenbridge Leisure Centre
• FTRA Spitals Cross
• Holcut (Hilders Lane)
• Options Beauty Salon
• The Post Office
• The Swan Public House
• Waitrose

Eynsford (1)
• Eynsford Cricket Club

Four Elms (1)
Four Elms Crossroads

Godden Green (1)
Godden Green

Halstead (1)
• Halstead Parish Rooms

Hartley (2)
• Hartley Village Hall
• Manor Field Pavilion

Ide Hill (1)
• Ide Hill Village Hall

Kemsing (2)
• St Edith’s Hall
• The Dynes – Abbeyfield Care Home

Knockholt (1)
• Knockholt Pound

Mark Beech (1)
• Mark Beech Village Hall

New Ash Green (1)
• New Ash Green Village Hall

Otford (9)
• Hale Lane Recreation Ground
• Otford Dental practice
• Otford Medical Practice
• Otford Parish Council & Heritage Centre
• Otford Station, Platform 1 and 6
• Otford Station, Platform 6
• Otford United FC
• Russell House School
• Yvonnes shop, Telston Lane

Riverhead (2)
• Chipstead common
• Riverhead Village Hall

Seal (3)
• Seal High Street
• Seal Village Hall
• Wildernesse Golf Club

Sevenoaks (22)
• A-Plan insurance
• Bat & Ball Centre
• Bradbourne Riding Centre
• Chequers pub
• Hollybush Café
• Lloyd’s Bank
• McKenzies Dental Surgery
• Raj Bari
• Rockdale Care Home
• Sainsbury’s
• Sevenoaks District Council offices
• Sevenoaks Hospital
• Sevenoaks Household Waste Centre
• Sevenoaks Lawn Tennis Club
• Sevenoaks Leisure Centre
• Sevenoaks Rugby Club
• Sevenoaks School
• Sevenoaks Station
• Sevenoaks Town FC
• Stag Theatre
• STC offices
• The Vine Gardens

Shoreham (2)
• King’s Arms pub
• Shoreham Village Hall

Stone Street (1)
• Pond Lane

Sundridge (2)
• Sundridge and Brasted Primary School
• White Horse Pub

Swanley (3)
• Asda Supermarket
• Swanley Leisure Centre
• Swanley Town Council offices

Toys Hill (1)
• Toys Hill Village Hall

Underriver (1)
• Underriver Village Hall

West Kingsdown (3)
• Pavillion (Recreation ground)
• West Kingsdown shops
• West Kingsdown Village Hall

Westerham (4)
• Bodyworx
• High Street
• SWP (the old school)
• Wolfe garage