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Automatic defibrillators in every buildings

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par Olivier Barrellier | 01.25.10

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Each year in France, more than 50,000 persons are the victims of cardiac arrests . The survival rate is only 4%. However, it is around 40% in the United States. Why this abyssal gap? First, because American people have install defibrillators in public resorts for years, but also because the majority of them are trained in first aid, against 2% of our citizens.

Authorities know this national weakness and have already taken some measures. Thus, a decree of 2007 authorizes general public to handle a defibrillator. However, no regulation imposes the implantation of defibrillators in places open to the public, whether private or public. Authorities make progress but are disorganized, depending on the level of awareness of elected representatives.

75 % of cardiac arrests occur at home

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Louis Dorange

Equipping public places would be inadequate anyway. “Our clientele mainly includes companies wishing to protect their clients and their teams, but 75% of cardiorespiratory arrests occur at home“, explains Louis Dorange, founder of Serenys, the leading French distributor of defibrillators. And it is necessary to intervene very quickly. After 4 minutes of arrest, each additional minute reduces by 10% the chance of survival. However, the average response time of emergency is around 10 minutes (Americans are no better on this point). “We therefore believe it is particularly effective to equip condos,” says Louis Dorange. Serenys has already convinced several trustees, the most important being undoubtedly the firm Loiselet & Daigremont: all buildings they manage (1000) could eventually be equipped. “We have just installed 150 devices in a hundred homes,” says Philippe Loiselet, General Manager of the Parisian trustee who also created an association named “Les Défibrill’Acteurs” (The Defibrill’Actors), which aims to promote the installation of defibrillators in common areas of apartment buildings.

A useless device without related services

corps_defibrillateur_1001201The lifetime of a device is about ten years. But it also includes consumables: a battery every four years and one set of electrodes every two years. It is also desirable to do an annual check. Philippe Loiselet is very pleased to say “Therefore we have chosen a distributor offering related services. Once the defibrillator is installed, we are confident that our service provider takes care of everything “.

Still, the mere presence of a defibrillator in good condition is not enough to save a life. A machine does not do mouth to mouth resuscitation, or cardiac massage, two actions that are however essential. “A defibrillation without a massage has very little chance of success confirms Louis Dorange. Therefore we recommend to our clients a training on the use of the device. And it’s a minimum! The ideal would be to take a widespread learning on first aid. We are campaigning so that the AFPS (Attestation de Formation aux Premiers Secours - Certificate of Training in First Aid) is integrated into driver’s license“. Meanwhile, janitors follow the course of the Red Cross, with owners who want it.

Photo credit: La Voix du Nord

How much does it cost?

  • To purchase: between €1000 and €1500 depending on the brand, model and quantity (unit price without service or maintenance).
  • To rent: less than €100 per month over 4 years, including the device, its wall bracket, consumables, annual visit and a training session for ten people.

How does a defibrillator work?

From a medical point of view, approximately half of cardiac arrests are caused by ventricular fibrillation, ie a rapid and chaotic pulsation leading to inefficiency of the “pump” function of the heart. Defibrillation consist in desynchronizing the myocardium by having a brief electric current going through.

Appeared in 1994, automatic defibrillators opened defibrillation, previously reserved for medical staff, to first rescuers because of their ease of use. Once the adhesive electrodes placed on the chest of the victim, the device analyzes the heartbeat and decides when to send an electric shock. Some models are even equipped with a voice indicating ongoing operations.

Serenys in brief

  • Date of creation: 2008
  • Head: Louis Dorange
  • Business: Rental and sale of defibrillators, more broadly services dedicated to people protection
  • Employees: 5 persons, in growth
  • 2009 turnover: €850 000 (2010 estimate: €1,6 M)
  • Clients : Total, Hypopotamus, BNP, Loiselet-Daigremont, Crédit Agricole, L’Equipe….

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