by Ryan Dinsdale
A number of life-saving defibrillators have been installed on key Stirling council buildings. The easy-to-use devices will drastically increase the chance of survival for cardiac arrest victims.
Old Viewforth, Tolbooth Theatre, Raploch Community Campus, Lower Polmaise, Municipal Building and Teith House are all of the buildings that now feature defibrillators, visibly prominent in bright yellow cabinets. The Scottish Ambulance Service assisted in choosing the locations, with Area Service Manager, Gordon Smith, saying that “having the defibrillators close to hand in all council buildings can save lives.”
Stuart Ballatyne, Chair of Trossachs Search and Rescue, explains that the defibrillators are incredibly safe and easy to use. “The device will talk you through the process each step of the way,” and “will not administer an electrical shock if not needed.”
Ballatyne explains that “sudden cardiac arrest is a condition where a heart suddenly stops pumping blood around someone’s body,” the victim will collapse and stop breathing. Immediately phone emergency services if witnessed, then perform CPR and use the defibrillator. Using one within three to five minutes after an attack can increase the chance of survival by 75 per cent. Trossachs Search and Rescue have been installing defibrillators within communities for five years and have seen twelve lives saved – all by members of the public.
The incentive is very close to home for motorcyclist Alex Wilson, whose life was saved by a portable defibrillator in Stirlingshire two years ago. Visiting Thornhill with the Scottish branch of Moto Guzzi Club GB, 68-year-old Alex suddenly collapsed in the village’s community hall.
The attack came over him with no warning whatsoever. “It was like someone switching off a light,” he explained. A local woman, Michelle Fordyre, was alerted and ran for the defibrillator while two members of the biking group – trained nurses – performed CPR. Once Michelle had attained the device, she thankfully managed to get Alex breathing again.
Alex and his wife, Elaine, visited Stirling Council’s headquarters to support the new initiative. “If it wasn’t for one of the defibrillators, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Alex.
“I’m delighted that Stirling Council have installed these devices on their buildings.”
Elaine echoed this sentiment, saying the hospital staff had blatantly told her that the defibrillator had saved him. As the attack happened in a rural area, even the nurses couldn’t have stabilised Alex until the ambulance arrived. “It’s hard to put into words what it means,” Elaine continues. “The fact that Alex is standing here is testament to their importance.”
Danny Gibson, Chair of Stirling Council’s Health and Safety Panel, agrees that the defibrillator installation is an important initiative. “The safety of our staff and the public is vital and that’s why we invested in this equipment.” The panel green lit the initiative following submissions from trade unions. Gibson explains he is “delighted that they are now in place in the area.”