Life-saving initiative for East Neuk villages to be unveiled

KIRKCALDY;'Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon attending the Scottish Ambulance Service's launch of a National Public Defibrillator Partnership with Scotmid.'Nicola watches a demonstration by Semichem senior sales assistant and student nurse JEMMA KEELLINGS'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon attending the Scottish Ambulance Service's launch of a National Public Defibrillator Partnership with Scotmid.'Nicola watches a demonstration by Semichem senior sales assistant and student nurse JEMMA KEELLINGS'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

A life-saving initiative which could see defibrillators located in every village in the East Neuk - the project has been financially supported by a St Andrews charity - has been unveiled.

Behind the ambitious project to purchase and maintain public access defibrillators - PADs - are members of the East Neuk Community Councils Group.

The aim of the campaign is to have mapped PADs in each village which will be accessible 24 hours a day and will greatly increase the chances of survival of local people and visitors should they suffer a cardiac arrest.

Chairman of the group, Martin Dibley, told the Citizen that the project will be a leading example in Scotland of communities working together for the common good.

More than half of community councils across the East Neuk have responded positively to the campaign, giving hopes that the first defibrillators will be in place in the next few months.

As more councils come on board it is hoped that all 12 in the area will eventually be involved.

Unfortunately, Largoward does not have a community council at the moment but it is intended to work with other groups and members of the community there to include them in the scheme.

Mr Dibley added: ”You are more likely to need a defibrillator than a fire extinguisher, yet every building is fitted with a fire extinguisher but very few with a defibrillator.

“In an ideal world you would have a PAD in every public building in every community, but we have to start somewhere.

‘‘We have received a wonderful donation of £4000 from Operation Heart Start, St Andrews and the East Neuk, which has really boosted the campaign and I’m sure if we can get the local people and businesses behind this we will be able to achieve our goal.”

His comments were echoed by Gillian Duncan, co-ordinator and chairperson of East Neuk First Responders, who are also supporting the project.

She added: ”This will further enhance the work we do in the East Neuk and give victims of sudden cardiac arrest a much better chance of a positive outcome.”

The area’s Operation Heart Start charity supplies emergency life support training and life-saving equipment to the local community.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the UK but many victims can survive if bystanders take immediate action. By using a defibrillator, trained individuals can greatly increase the victim’s chances of survival as a shock can be delivered much quicker than an ambulance can arrive.

Anyone wishing more information about the East Neuk campaign or to make a donation should contact Martin Dibley (tel 01333 311890), email martin.dibley@gmail or contact their own community council.