One hundred defibrillators (AED) have been now been installed in the Western Isles.
The equipment – which would be used if someone suffered a heart attack and a doctor
wasn’t immediately available – have been located from the Butt of Barra.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has teamed up with Lucky2bhere and automated defibrillator
(AED) manufacturers Cardiac Science to provide the devices and training.
It makes the Western Isles one of the UK’s best protected communities for life-saving
training and equipment per head.
The latest device was presented to the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway.
Life-saving training including how to operate the equipment is now provided routinely
by Lucky2BHere Eilean Siar volunteers in all 24 secondary and primary schools across
the Western Isles as part of the curriculum.
AEDs are now available 24/7 at every school in the Western Isles, both for school
and wider community use, all signposted from local roads.
The proactive approach to life-saving training is widely adopted across Europe, especially
in Scandinavian countries, where survival rates after sudden cardiac arrest are as
good as one in two. In the UK it’s only 1 in 20.
Around 60,000 people in the UK have an out of hospital cardiac arrest each year according
to figures from the Resuscitation Council (UK). If CPR is started early and there
is an AED available, it can double the person’s chances of survival.
Lucky2bhere founder Ross Cowie said: “We work all over Scotland educating people
on how to save lives, but the progress we have made in the Western Isles and in just
18 months, has been phenomenal.
“The 100th AED installation is evidence of a commitment to making learning life-saving
skills a strategic local authority priority and it will keep this community safer
in the future.”
Cllr Angus Morrison has been instrumental in the campaign both as a councillor and
a co-ordinator at Lucky2bhere.
He suffered a heart attack himself in 2015 and is well aware of the importance of
timely life-saving intervention.
It was his vision to see AEDs in every community in the Western Isles and the scheme
has seen that increase from seven to 100 since early 2016.
He said: “After my heart attack I wanted to raise awareness of the need to have both
easy access to AEDs and the necessary life saving skills to deal with a sudden cardiac
Lucky2bhere trainers are volunteers all trained according to current Resuscitation
Council (UK) guidelines. The free of charge training lasts 2.5 hours and gives people
the knowledge and confidence to provide bystander CPR and defibrillation in an emergency.
Key aspects of this are recognising the difference between heart attack and cardiac
arrest, watching and listening to a real life demonstration, performing CPR and using
an AED, also dealing with a choking child or adult.