Our defibrillator has a home, so we thought we’d try it out

Hello everyone.

After last Saturday's parkrun a group of the core team - some of the run directors, volunteers, and regular parkrunners - gathered to talk through some of the potential medical emergencies that might happen during a parkrun. With well over 100,000 people taking part every week, statistically incidents can and do happen, so we thought we'd prepare ourselves a little.

Led by Patrick, one of the core team, and two parkrunning doctors he knows, Lucy and Mary, the group talked through a realistic example scenario - a 25 year old female collapses is the back field. We started by splitting into small groups to discuss how people in different roles might respond, which raised some useful discussion points, before moving on to how to assess the patient and administer basic first aid. This is a great life skill to have and if you'd like to know more then do check out this link https://www.resus.org.uk/…/adult-basic-life-support-and-a…/…

Some of you who were there on Saturday might have noticed a shiny yellow cabinet newly attached to the side of the cricket pavilion. This is now the permanent home for our crowdfunded AED - which will be available for all users of River Park all the time very soon - and we thought we'd use the opportunity to demonstrate how it works. Patrick borrowed a training AED from parkrun HQ to go through each step. The defibrillator talks the user through the steps and monitors the patient to tailor the response and treatment to make it as simple as possible to use.

As with all medical emergencies, time is paramount. Our second scenario was of a 50 year old male at the finish complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. This situation is one which could precede a cardiac arrest and we determined that discretely asking someone to get the AED from the cabinet would be advisable, just in case.

It was a very informative session and as well as useful learning points for the individuals who there were a number of things that came out which the group felt we could improve as a parkrun community.

Mainly it's about raising awareness. The AED cabinet will be unlocked during parkrun each week so that anyone can access it at any time. If you become aware of an emergency that might need the AED and you happen to be nearby - even simply running past it at the time - then please, please just grab and take it to the scene. In future, Run Directors will brief this each week.

Winchester parkrun has been going for more than 5 years, and so far we've been very fortunate that we haven't had to deal with a serious medical emergency in that time. Hopefully we won't need to for a long time yet. But there are several cases of defibrillators saving parkrunners' lives, and even just knowing where the AED is kept might make the crucial difference.

Thank you for reading and we'd be grateful if you could share this post with your parkrunning family and friends.

Winchester parkrun team.