We’ve just installed the first of three defibrillators to help save lives in and around Alyth.
Defibrillators are life-saving machines used to re-start someone’s heart if they have a heart attack. In a rural community like Alyth, fast access to an ambulance is not always possible, yet there is only a window of five minutes to re-start a stopped heart before fatal brain damage is done – so access to these machines needs to be fast.
J W Wheatley & Son installed the first defibrillator in the squinty phone box in the Market Square yesterday (18 January) and reconnected the electrical power supply which helps keep the equipment frost-free in the winter months. We’re now finalising the paperwork to enable the Scottish Ambulance Service to switch it on.
When it’s live, anyone needing to use it must phone 999 to get the security access code to open the box and access the defibrillator. The security access code means the life-saving equipment in the box is secure until it is needed, and we hope everyone in Alyth will help keep it safe from vandals and challenge anyone who is trying to damage it – your life could literally depend on it!
We are planning a community training session in the Spring on how to deal with a cardiac arrest emergency and how to use the defibrillator – details and date to follow soon. Don’t worry if you can’t get to this training session. In the event of someone having a heart attack and needing the defibrillator the equipment is designed to be used by any member of the public without any training. When you open the box the machine speaks to you and guides you through exactly what to do.
IMPORTANT – remember to always phone for an ambulance first before you try to use any defibrillator.
We’re immensely grateful to to The Collective Dairy (makers of amazingly tasty yoghurt – the one with the black lid and the cow’s head on) for funding the first of Alyth’s publicly accessible defibrillators in the Market Square. Their donation is in memory of Mike Hodgson, co-founder of The Collective UK, who tragically passed away in August 2015 after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while riding his bike in the Lake District. We hope that their kind donation will be a life saver for anyone in Alyth in the unfortunate position of needing a defibrillator.
We’re also very thankful to the Drumderg Wind-Farm Community Fund for a micro-grant of £300 enabling us to reconnect the electrical power supply to the phone box.
We’ll be submitting a Drumderg application in early February to fund another two defibrillators, one for New Alyth and one for the Den Car Park.
PS: Just in case you think the defibrillator box looks a bit squint, it is actually level but the phone box itself is squint! We found out that it would cost about £2000 to get the phone box straight, so we hope most people will agree that this wouldn’t be best use of such a large amount of community funding.