When Doreen Scott collapsed at home in Crail on New Year’s Day it could have ended in a family tragedy.
Instead, two important things saved the 76-year-old’s life - a public access defibrillator (PAD) and the family knowing where it was sited.
Doreen was in cardiac arrest when daughter Emma (39) arrived home and, after calling for an ambulance, she sent dad David out to get the PAD, which luckily is nearby.
However, in the panic of the moment, he had trouble working out how to release it from its wall mounting and had to ask neighbour Martin Paterson’s help.
As a life guard with Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, part of Emma’s job is training others in CPR and using defibrillators and her experience has given her valuable insight between training and real life.
“I never for a minute thought I’d ever be using it on my mum,” Emma said.
“I knew right away it was serious and then discovered she wasn’t breathing - I was distraught, nothing can prepare you for seeing someone you love slipping away and you know the minutes are ticking away.
“When my dad didn’t come back right away I started thinking something was wrong - it was about 15 minutes but it felt like forever.”
When they arrived, she asked neighbour Martin to take over chest compressions while she prepared the defibrillator to give her mum a shock, which started her heart beating normally again.
When the ambulance arrived Mrs Scott was rushed to Ninewells Hospital.
The East Neuk First Responders do a great job raising money to buy the defibrillators for our local communities but it’s important that people find out where they are.Doreen Scott.
“By the time we got to the hospital the paramedics told us mum had been conscious during the journey - it was such a relief,” Emma said.
Now the whole family is committed to raising awareness about the PADs.
“We were lucky because we knew where it was and Emma knew what to do with it,” said Mrs Scott this week.
“The East Neuk First Responders do a great job raising money to buy the defibrillators for our local communities but it’s important that people find out where they are.”
Emma also thinks people should make a point of knowing where their nearest PAD is and, if possible, go along to a session to familiarise themselves with the equipment.
“You don’t need training as the machine gives instructions but when it’s an emergency and it’s someone you love in front of you, it is hard not to panic.”
Gillian Duncan, chairman of the group, said: “When someone is in cardiac arrest every second counts, the quicker a shock from a defibrillator can be delivered the better the chance of survival.
“Emma and her neighbour did a brilliant job and we hope that their success will encourage others to take a PAD and use it if the need arises, they are safe and simple to use with no training required.”