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Published 13 September 2019

More than 40 new defibrillators will be installed across West Dunbartonshire after the Council invested £50,000 in a life-saving campaign.

The automated external defibrillators (AED) will be installed outside libraries, community centres, leisure centres and local businesses to ensure residents are never far away from help in an emergency.

Of the 41 purchased, 29 have been distributed for installation, and the remaining 12 are expected to be placed within school campuses.

West Dunbartonshire Council has worked in partnership with Heartstart and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to highlight the importance of defibrillators in the community.

They held an official launch this week in a bid to gain support from the public and highlight training sessions which will dispel myths about defibrillators, allow residents to familiarise themselves with the machines and learn CPR.

The partnership is also encouraging members of the community to volunteer to become a defibrillator guardian, and take responsibility for checking them monthly so they are kept in working order.

Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Chair of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, has supported the campaign from the start and was a driver in gaining cross party support to invest £50,000 in the live saving equipment. 

She was joined by Councillor Caroline McAllister, Vice Convener of Housing and Communities, and other elected members at Clydebank Town Hall.

Councillor McNair, said: “The £50,000 investment from the Council will ensure that residents are never far away from the help they require in an emergency.

“These machines can really be the difference between life and death for some and so it is vital that they are widely available. Every machine in the community has an ambassador who looks after the maintenance of that unit.  We need more people in the community to come forward and volunteer to look after the maintenance of the machines to ensure they are ready for use in the event of an emergency.

“These defibrillators are very simple to operate but I would encourage all residents to consider participating in one of the training sessions offered by our partners at HeartStart to become familiar with them and also learn basic CPR skills.

“You could really save somebody’s life.”

Councillor Diane Docherty, Convener of Housing and Communities, said: “As a Council we are committed to improving the lives of our residents and by providing these potentially life-saving machines in as many locations as possible, we are ensuring that if the worst happens, people can get help.

“These units are a welcome addition to communities across West Dunbartonshire and will provide some reassurance that assistance will be available in the event of an emergency.

“All of our defibs will be added to the Scottish Ambulance Service register – meaning 999 staff can direct callers to them easily –and I would urge all businesses which have one to do the same.”

Councillor McAllister, added: “The work done by HeartStart and Scottish Ambulance Service is inspirational and we are delighted that the Council can help further that.

“It is vital that members of the public know where these machines are held locally and are also familiar with how to use them.  HeartStart provides training in CPR, which is a vital skill no matter where life takes you, so please sign up.  

“Around 3,500 people suffer cardiac arrest in Scotland each year, so these machines are saving lives.”

Sheenah Nelson, Heartstart Co-ordinator Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary, said: “We are delighted with the support from the Council which has enabled the expansion of accessible defibrillators within the community which will undoubtedly save lives.  Since the launch of the campaign 18 months ago, we have trained over 3,500 people in the community and installed 202 defibrillators which has saved 20 lives.”

The new defibrillators include one recently installed at the Clydebank Co-op building in Sylvania Way, which was added as part of a partnership between West Dunbartonshire Council and the Co-op.

Like every additional defibrillator, it will now be added to the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) register, meaning 999 staff will be able to direct callers to the closest machine if required.