Chance of life at hand

editorial image

AN ambitous campaign to install life-saving machines in all East Neuk villages has started to become a reality.

In all, 12 Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) have been bought and the first three – two in St Monans and one in Arncroach – are now available for use in an emergency.

As the others are put in place over the coming weeks and months, the East Neuk First Responders, who will manage the equipment, now face the second challenge in the project – making local people aware of where the defibrillators (pictured) are sited.

“We will be organising awareness and training sessions in village halls and schools, so that people are aware of the locations of the defibrillators and know to use them without delay in an emergency,” said Gillian Duncan, co-ordinator/chair, East Neuk First Responders.

“Although no training is required to use a PAD, it makes their use even more effective.”

The East Neuk community councils and the First Responders launched the life-saving campaign last October.

The funds were raised by the community councils, supported by Fife Council and donations from the First Responders and Operation Heart Start.

“A lot of people worked very hard, and are still working, to make this a reality,” Gillian said.

“Nine more PADs will follow shortly and, hopefully, many more in future.”

Accessible 24 hours a day in unlocked cabinets, the machines include recorded instructions, which mean they can be used without training, and also have a built-in safety step to prevent being used when not required.

The community council and First Responders are also confident that the machines will not be vandalised.

“It is a risk but experience from other areas of the country shows they are not misused,” Gillian said.

The life-saving potential of PADs is becoming widely recognised throughout the UK. For example, in England, the North West Ambulance Service has installed 600 PADs across Lancashire.