Fullwell Leisure Centre
Upon arriving at Fullwell Cross Leisure two things are striking; its location and size. A bustling busy high street, school children walking past, busy roundabout and lots of people both passing and going in and out of the Leisure Centre. In fact, Fullwell Cross Leisure centre has around 40,000 visitors through the turnstiles every month and is operated by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure (VRCL) in partnership with Redbridge Council. Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre is clearly physically located at the centre of the community, but upon meeting Alex Clifford, Duty Manager, it was soon confirmed that this is a role that they embrace metaphorically too, as a team. The centre has a large swimming pool with spectator seating, a high-tech gym and dance studios that are currently in the process of being refurbished. There is also a spa offering a full range of treatments. They train lifeguards, provide the school swimming programme for Redbridge Schools, hold swimming galas, run youth fitness sessions etc – it’s clearly a busy social enterprise. We visited Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre because DOC defibrillators supply Fullwell Leisure Centre with a fully monitored AED and support package.
Four Lives Saved
Two weekends ago the defibrillator was used. In fact, the defibrillator has been used an astonishing four times in the last year – always with a successful outcome.
We wanted to see why Fullwell Cross was so effective in deploying first aid care in a cardiac arrest emergency, and also shake the hands of those staff members that had helped to save lives. Four people, ranging from 27-77 years old are still around today because of the team’s effective and speedy response. Talking to Alex at length, it soon became clear why they are successful; it is a team effort between all the staff and the DOC.
Alex himself has used the DOC defibrillator twice in the last six months and was the person that led the response during the latest incident.
A 77 year old regular visitor to the centre was taking his usual Saturday morning swim, when he got out of the pool complaining he was feeling a little strange and had chest pains. Most companies at this point would probably call for a first aider and the rest of the employees would go about their jobs. At Fullwell Cross, the poolside alarm is sounded, the majority of the team quickly report to the poolside; someone is deployed to get the DOC defibrillator and others are assigned roles from evacuating the pool, to CPR, to waiting for the ambulance.
Every Second Counts
When dealing with a cardiac arrest – time is vital. The quicker you defibrillate a casualty the better chance they have of survival. At 3 minutes the chance of survival is approximately 74%, but after that the potential for permanent brain and major organ damage through lack of oxygen, means that not only does the survival rate plummet, but the chances of life changing, ongoing complications becomes more likely. At 8 minutes – which is the target ambulance response time, the survival rate is just 6%.
Quick Action Makes the Difference
Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre’s co-ordinated response meant that when the casualty actually went into cardiac arrest, the DOC was already there and an ambulance was already on its way. They used the DOC to shock 3 times and interspersed this with CPR. The casualty was brought back, and is now recovering in hospital. The stark truth is that if he hadn’t come swimming that Saturday, and this had happened at home, it is very unlikely that he would still be with his family.
Alex was very modest regarding his role, stressing it is due to the team and company’s focus and commitment to First Aid, CPR and their knowledge about how vital the DOC defibrillator is in event of a cardiac arrest that makes the difference.
There is a big team at the centre, circa 50 staff; a mix of full timers and part timers. All lifeguards undergo training each month, which includes first aid training, and there are a large number of other staff in various departments who are First Aid at Work trained and receive ongoing in house and external training.
DOC defibrillators are remotely monitored daily, with proactive maintenance in the event of any faults, and routine changing of the pads and battery when required. When moved, the DOC alerts the response centre; operators who are trained to deal with medical emergencies speak to the user through the DOC, reassuring and supporting them. The local ambulance service is directed by the response centre to the GPS location of the casualty, meaning all the user must do is concentrate on the casualty. We know that the quicker the DOC is used, the more likely the person is to survive. Alex praised DOC’s service and support.
Cardiac arrest can be suffered by anyone, anywhere, anytime. DOC defibrillators are proud to be part of Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre’s excellent response to these critical emergencies.