The well-known Roodepoort parkrun is officially heart safe.

Martin Botha, senior clinical lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand stated, “With the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) now available at the Saturday morning event, the potential for saving someone who might collapse, has increased dramatically.”

He added that parkrun’s policy now states all events need to have an AED available if a person might have a cardiac arrest.

The new AED is now available at the Roodepoort parkrun. Photo: Supplied.

“Unfortunately most people do not realise that doing CPR alone may not save a collapsed victim’s life. In many cases when an adult becomes unresponsive and stops breathing, it is only when CPR is combined with the shock delivered by the AED, that survival is possible,” said Botha.

He continued to say unless EMS can respond swiftly, the chances for survival without the shock of the AED decrease by 7-10% every minute, while when chest compressions are immediately initiated it decreases the chances by 3-4% per minute.

Volunteers at the parkrun were taught CPR and AED skills. Photo: Supplied.

“The volunteers at the parkrun recently attended an online session where these concepts were introduced and explained, and in June a follow-up skills session allowed for the practice of chest compression CPR and the use of the AED. Similar sessions will be facilitated monthly to reinforce the competence and confidence of all volunteers, to be able to save a life.”

He also said training such as this should ‘be commonplace in public spaces, in shopping malls, in schools, colleges, gyms’ and so on. He said as legislation does not dictate AED availability, more initiatives such as this one should be done.

“The volunteers will never forget the day they may save a life, which will be possible because they are learning CPR skills and have immediate access to an AED,” concluded Botha.

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