Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay is joining forces with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and the British Heart Foundation to highlight the importance of ensuring defibrillators located in sports centres, schools, community halls and shops across Renfrewshire are registered with the emergency services.
Mr Mackay visited the Bishopton Community Centre to see their new defibrillator, purchased by fundraising earlier in the year.
A defibrillator is a life-saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock in some cases of cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. When someone has a cardiac arrest, defibrillation needs to be prompt. For every minute that passes without defibrillation chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent. Research shows that applying a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse provides the best possible chances of survival
It is vitally important that they are registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service in order that during a cardiac arrest emergency call they can signpost the 999 caller to the nearest defibrillator.
At present, not including those located at Glasgow Airport, there are approximately 19 registered public accessible defibrillators with Renfrewshire. However, it is estimated that there is at least the same amount again which are not registered.
As well as calling on any group who has a defibrillator to ensure they are registered, Mr Mackay has also written to Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure to ask them to ensure any machines located in local schools or publicly-run leisure centres are registered.
Mr Mackay said:
“During a cardiac arrest every second counts and having a publicly accessible defibrillator located in our communities, particularly in rural areas, can save lives.
“While it is fantastic that so many Renfrewshire schools, community groups and shops have defibrillators, it is vitally important that they are registered in order that during a cardiac arrest the emergency services can signpost the 999 caller to the nearest machine. To put it simply – if they don’t know you have a defibrillator, they can’t make use of it in an emergency.
“If your business or community group has a defibrillator, check with the Scottish Ambulance Service that it is registered. It could make all the difference.”
David McColgan, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager, BHF Scotland says:
“The announcement of the new National Defibrillator Network is an exciting development in improving out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“We know that defibrillators play a crucial step in the chain of survival and when used alongside bystander CPR a person’s chance of survival increases greatly.
“Mapping these lifesaving machines will enable Ambulance call handlers to direct bystanders to the nearest device when appropriate. If someone is a guardian of or knows of a public access defibrillator in their area it can be registered through the Scottish Ambulance Service website and you can help play a part in this lifesaving project.”
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
“Having a defibrillator close to hand can mean the difference between life and death. The best way to ensure it can save a life is to ensure it is registered with us – that way our 999 call handlers can easily locate it and direct a caller to it in an emergency.
“Instructions on registering a device with us are provided on most defibrillators; however, it couldn’t be easier to register one in retrospect – simply go to the Scottish Ambulance PAD registration site online and provide details of the defibrillator’s location.”