Take heart!

Recently, ten new semi-automatic defibrillators were installed at various locations around CERN. This is a preventive measure intended to provide cardiac arrest victims with the best possible response. The first responder could be you!


The Director-General has welcomed the initiative of the Medical Service and Fire Brigade for the installation of ten new semi-automatic defibrillators.

You have probably seen them on your way to the restaurant, for example:  brand new semi-automatic defibrillators, ready for an emergency. Housed in a white wall-mounted case, the bright red defibrillators are marked with a white heart symbol crossed by a lightning bolt (see photo). The defibrillator is designed so that anyone can use it. “Anyone can use it, you don’t need to be a health professional,” says Dr Reymond from CERN's Medical Service. Together with the CERN Fire Brigade, he is behind the initiative to have these units put in place. And with good reason, as the unit provides spoken instructions (in English or French) to guide the user. “The defibrillator gives you simple instructions, and as long as you follow them there is no risk of any error: it’s impossible to hurt the victim!” says Dr Reymond.

Positioned at heavily frequented points like the restaurants, the Globe and the Main Building (see box), the defibrillators are designed to be as visible and accessible as possible, so that they can be deployed quickly. “It's important for defibrillation to start as rapidly as possible,” explains Patrick Berlinghi, in charge of logistics for the Fire Brigade. “The faster someone pulls the unit out of its case and attaches the electrodes to the victim’s body [see illustration], the better the chances of resuscitation.” Dr Reymond confirms this: “Having one of these units available for immediate use can save a life, even before the Fire Brigade or the Medical Service arrive on the scene.” Furthermore, as soon as the white protective housing is opened, it sets off a local alarm that signals a medical emergency. So start using the defibrillator right away, begin chest compressions and have someone call 74444 immediately so the emergency services can get there as quickly as possible.

“A combination of immediate defibrillation, chest compressions, an emergency call and rapid deployment of the emergency services gives the person the best possible chance of surviving. This kind of response has proven its effectiveness in a non-hospital environment," concludes Patrick Berlinghi. So now it’s up to you! 

How to recognise cardiac arrest and use a defibrillator

Correct positioning of the electrodes on the chest.

To bystanders, a person with cardiac arrest appears to be dead: the victim collapses, makes no movements and stops breathing. To show you how to use the recently installed semi-automatic defibrillators, the Fire Brigade has created a training video that you can view by clicking on the link below. The illustration shows where to attach the electrodes.
To become a more skilled and effective first-aider, you can sign up for basic first-aid courses and refreshers.

Where the ten new semi-automatic defibrillators have been installed:

-    Building 80 (Globe), upper level, next to the pharmacy and telephone;
-    Building 33, to the left of the CERN shop, at the Microcosm entrance;
-    Building 60, across from the bank, at the right-hand pillar as you go up the stairs to the amphitheatre;
-    Building 40, to your left as you enter behind the counter;
-    Building 39, to your left at the hostel reception;
-    Building 504, to your left as you go up to INTERFON;
-    Buildings 30 and 112, at the ground floor where the two buildings meet;
-    Building 866, at the Restaurant 3 entrance on the Prévessin site;
-    Building 874, in the CCC reception area, to the left behind the counter;
-    Building on the escape breathing apparatus training grounds on the Prévessin site.

Watch the video produced by the Fire Brigade for training purposes:

by Alizée Dauvergne