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Defib project: Burgenland becomes HEARTsafe

(Vienna, 22-09-2015) Defibrillators save lives – the Burgenland regional police force is therefore equipping all its service vehicles throughout the State with these life-saving devices, starting with 20 units in the districts of Jennersdorf, Güssing and Oberwart.
As part of the project, which is being implemented by MedUni Vienna in collaboration with the Burgenland police force, the association combating sudden heart death (PULS) and the Burgenland Red Cross, all police officers are being trained to use the units and will be actively involved in the chain of response to relevant emergency calls.



The principle of the project is simple but effective: when relevant emergency calls are received in the emergency control centre, the police will be notified as well as the emergency response teams. If the police arrive at the scene before the emergency response team, police officers will take over the important function of first responder.

Lay defibrillators – or "defibs" for short – are important aids in the fight against sudden heart death. They are simple to use and, by delivering a controlled electrical impulse, they are able to restore normal cardiac rhythm and start the heart beating again. "The probability of survival for a lifeless patient diminishes by approximately 10% per minute. Effective help can be provided very easily: bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest can help by applying firm pressure in the centre of rib cage and quickly applying a defibrillator before the emergency services arrive," explains Mario Krammel of the MedUni Vienna Department of Anaesthesia, General Intensive Care and Pain Therapy and Executive Chairman of PULS.

"Police First Responder" a great success in Vienna
A similar project going under the name of "Police First Responder" has been running in Vienna since 2013, and very successfully at that: “Since then, we have installed around 200 defibs in police stations and Vienna police vehicles and we are delighted to say that more than 100 lives have been successfully saved by Vienna police officers," says Markus Winnisch of the University Department of Trauma Surgery and project leader within the PULS association.

The project is being overseen and scientifically evaluated by an interdisciplinary working group within MedUni Vienna. Participating departments are:
University Department of Anaesthesia, General Intensive Care and Pain Therapy
University Department of Internal Medicine II/Cardiology
University Department of Emergency Medicine
University Department of Trauma Surgery