The airport has 180 heart-starting defibrillators, over 100 first aid-trained front line staff and a specialist team of 15 bicycle-riding London Ambulance Service paramedics.
Recent statistics show that the Heathrow Cycle Response Unit reached 93.6% of the most serious and life-threatening emergencies at the airport within eight minutes – far exceeding the national target of 75% within that time frame. The overall cardiac arrest survival rate in London in 2011/12 was 10.9% and in Heathrow was 74%.
The bicycling paramedics treated almost 900 passengers out of the 6.5m that travelled in June – with more than a fifth being treated for life-threatening conditions. It is reported that passengers are never more than two minutes away from a defibrillator.
London Ambulance Service Community Resuscitation Training Officer Martin Bullock said: “We’ve been working with Heathrow Airport for over ten years and thanks to the defibrillators, its first aid-trained staff and our cycle responders, it has one of the highest cardiac arrest survival rates in the world. The survival rate witnessed for cardiac arrests at the airport is six times as high as in London overall.”
If a passenger is believed to be in a life-threatening condition, the onsite ambulance is called at the same time to ensure additional helps arrives as soon as possible. In less serious cases, the bicycle paramedic or emergency medical technician is sent initially on their own and can then request further assistance if required.
Heathrow also encourages its staff to participate in company-wide first aid courses.