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Village leaders are looking into how they can potentially save lives in their community

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 18, 2013


Comments (0) VILLAGE leaders have agreed to look at how they can potentially help to save more lives in their community.


Matt Heward, Community Response Manager for West Midlands Ambulance Service, attended a monthly meeting of Cheddleton Parish Council on Tuesday, July 16, to explain how defibrillator and CPR training is helping save lives, particularly in cardiac arrests.

He told members that the chance of a person's survival in a heart attack case drops 10 per cent every minute.

He told members of a free two hour Heart Start course the ambulance service is offering to communities to teach vital life saving skills in particular CPR and defibrillator training.

He said: "Staffordshire has the quickest response times and the best survival rates in the country, with 30 per cent average survival rates.

"Compare that to survival rates of 70 per cent in Monaco and 50 per cent in Seattle where they have effective community resuscitation programmes in schools, which shows it actually works.

"We have excellent local first responder teams across the district which are saving lives all the time, but there is still a 10 minute average response time, so what can be done in those first few minutes makes a huge difference and using CPR in conjunction with defibrillators creates a massive chance of survival.

"It is law to have fire extinguishers in every public building, but not defibrillators, when there's more chance of someone having a heart attack than a fire.

"Parliament is talking about it at the moment, and we're getting the message out there, but in the meantime we've go to do something.

"If anyone wants to use any old disused red phone boxes for defibrillators BT will donate the phone box for free; it's happened in Checkley recently."

Mr Heward explained cases when CPR and defibrillators have been used and before the paramedics have even arrived patients have regained consciousness as a result of the quick intervention.

He asked the parish council if they would support the initiative by buying defibrillators for the village and holding Heart Start courses in the community.

He explained that each one costs around £1,000 and a further £500 for a lockable, vandal proof box with a key code which can be accessed by anyone in an emergency by calling 999.

He said there are funding streams available to parish councils wanting to buy defibrillators which the ambulance service can offer support with, and if the council bought one through the British Heart Foundation it would only cost a £400 donation and the ambulance service would offer support with any training and replacement of pads and batteries.

Councillors asked about the litigation risks involved of using defibrillators and CPR, but Mr Heward assured that the defibrillators will not shock anyone unless it is needed and that there is in place the NHS Litigation Authority, which supports anyone facing court action.

Council chairman John Tunna told members that a defibrillator would be put in the new Pointons' sports facilities when it opens in August and that as the village was so spread out they would probably need to have quite a few.

He agreed that it would be put on the agenda for the next meeting on Tuesday, September 17, to be discussed. 

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