An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable unit, designed for people with no medical knowledge, which can administer a measured electrical shock to a heart attack victim in order to re-establish a steady heart rhythm. Standard CPR (the traditional ‘first-aid’ approach) on a heart attack victim provides a 5% chance of survival, but access to a defibrillator improves that to a 50% chance. Following a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by 23% per minute.

Todenham has two AED’s one located on the front of the Village Hall, Todenham Road and the other on Orchard House, Wolford Road. The unit is designed to require very little maintenance and is housed in a locked, weatherproof cabinet, to ensure it is always ready for use. It is regularly checked by a volunteer resident on behalf of the Parish Council. The unit has its own automated instructions using a synthesised voice and when applied to the patient will assess whether a shock is appropriate and if so, how strong it should be.

A group of volunteers from the village, officially called the Village Emergency Telephone System (VETS), are willing to respond in the event of a Cardiac Arrest in the village. In addition to a number of other village residents, the volunteers have been trained in how to recognise a Cardiac Arrest, how to undertake CPR and how to administer the defibrillator.

What to do in the event of an emergency (see diagram)

If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, dial 999 immediately. The Emergency Control Centre will despatch an ambulance. Next, ring or ask someone to ring the VETS number:

01608 610123

There are 10 households in Todenham on the VETS system, so one of them should be able to answer the call and bring the defibrillator from one of the two locations to the patient, allowing the person who called 999 to remain with the patient.