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Paul Huguenin, Emergencies Manager at the Dutch Heart Foundation:

“It’s fantastic to see how Unica is embracing our mission”

Since 2020, Unica has been a partner of the Dutch Heart Foundation and has contributed to improving ‘heart safety’ in the Netherlands. Unica does this through the installation of AEDs, an area where its engineers’ technical knowledge comes in especially handy. The technical service provider is supporting the Dutch Heart Foundation’s ambition to create a network of AEDs with national coverage. “It’s fantastic to see how Unica is embracing our mission,” says Paul Huguenin, Emergencies Manager at the Dutch Heart Foundation.

Around 17,000 people in the Netherlands suffer a cardiac arrest outside the hospital every year. Rapid response using an AED has a significant impact on the chance of survival. Someone who suffers a cardiac arrest has the greatest chance of survival if CPR is started as quickly as possible and an AED is used. As soon as the emergency services receive a call, an automatic alert is sent to the mobile phones of first aiders registered with the Dutch Heart Foundation near the victim’s location. They arrive on average 2.5 minutes faster than an ambulance. Huguenin: “In order to save more lives in the event of a cardiac arrest, more AEDs are needed, installed on the outside buildings and accessible to the public. In order to achieve an AED network with national coverage, we look to partner with other parties that we can work with. We have found a reliable and highly motivated partner in Unica.”

Solution to the problem

With Unica as a partner, the Dutch Heart Foundation can also overcome a common obstacle. “There are many organisations and private parties who would be happy to place an AED on the wall outside their property, but they often lack the knowledge required to install it. Unica’s technicians provide a solution to this problem,” says Paul Huguenin. Engineers from Unica are working as volunteers to install AED cabinets at locations identified by the Dutch Heart Foundation. The volunteers also install the AEDs themselves and handle the registration of the AED in the alert system. The Dutch Heart Foundation is very happy with the collaboration with Unica. “Once the engineer leaves, the cabinet is in place, the AED is working and it can be deployed when the emergency services are called. So Unica deals with the entire complex process, making the experience very positive for new AED owners.” The Unica engineers complete the installation in their spare time, so they make a personal contribution to the Dutch Heart Foundation. Sometimes they know someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, and that’s their motivation to contribute. “It’s brilliant to see how motivated the Unica engineers are to do this for our charity. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for that!”

In Unica we have found a relevant and highly motivated partner


with a network of branches. “Our aim is to create a network of AEDs with national coverage. Spread across the country, there are still plenty of locations at which AEDs need to be installed in order to achieve this. Since Unica has engineers who want to support us all around the country, we can serve all regions in the Netherlands through this collaboration.”
The number of AEDs has increased significantly over recent years. Almost 24,000 publicly accessible AEDs have now been registered but, according to Huguenin, there are still another 1,500 locations in the Netherlands where there is no AED available. “At the Dutch Heart Foundation, we provide a clear overview of where AEDs are needed and encourage the public, businesses and organisations to make a contribution. The challenge for 2021 is to make people and businesses in a zone with no AED coverage aware of this and to prompt them to take action to ensure that an AED is installed in their area. Unica’s technicians make it much easier for us to achieve this goal. So together we are improving heart safety in the Netherlands and working to achieve a network of AEDs with national coverage.”