The vast majority of British hospitality businesses do not have a defibrillator, despite the impact the device has on cardiac arrest survival rates, according to a recent report.
The report, by defibrillator manufacturer DOC UK, found that just 12 per cent of hospitality businesses have the lifesaving equipment, compared to an average of 15 per cent across all industries.
Worryingly, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of those businesses that did have a defibrillator did not have the confidence to use it or had forgotten how to use one. And 16 per cent of employees don't even know what it is used for.
“The hospitality industry has huge numbers of the public coming through its doors every day, many of whom may have pre-existing heart conditions,” said DOC UK’s managing director Vincent Mathieu. “As such, hotels, pubs and restaurants carry a higher risk of someone having a heart attack on their premises than usual, so it is vital that companies are prepared.
“In the US, for example, defibrillators are common in hotels, and many tour operators will not book into facilities that are not equipped with one.”
Train in vein?
Sixty-nine per cent of the survey’s respondents expressed worries about accidentally electrocuting a casualty or being held liable if something went wrong - despite the fact that defibrillators will only work on someone suffering a genuine cardiac arrest, and that there have been no known instances of someone being sued for attempting to defibrillate a casualty.
Moreover, 39 per cent of hotel, pub and restaurant employees said they would not use a defibrillator under any circumstances.
”Of course, buying a defibrillator is not enough,” added Mathieu. “Of all UK industries, only mining has a higher proportion of people who say they wouldn’t use a defibrillator if they saw someone having a heart attack.
“The solution to this is education, and lowering people’s fears – this latter point is why DOC defibrillators have a remote connection to health professionals who will talk the user through the defibrillation process.”
DOC UK, a trading arm for Butler Safe Technologies UK Ltd designs, manufactures and distributes automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for the British market. For more details, visit www.doc-saves-lives.com .
First aid provision
The survey comes a month after Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne told BigHospitality he thinks many hospitality businesses across the UK have ‘a serious lack of training and knowledge’ when it comes to first aid provision, after the Dragons’ Den star experienced his own emergency last year.
Having suffered severe chest pains while working at his head office last September, Bannatyne is backing a St John Ambulance campaign to encourage workplaces to train more of their employees to save a life.