CARING COMMUNITIES are showing heart as they install brand new defibrillators and take part in life-saving training.
In Uppermill, a new automatic external defibrillator (AED) is now attached to the Civic Hall in a bright yellow cabinet, accessible to the public with a code during a 999 call to a paramedic.
If a defibrillator can be accessed and used on a heart attack sufferer, the full recovery rate goes up from less than 10 per cent to better than 50 per cent.
The machine provides instructions, carries out a diagnosis, applies the appropriate level of charge and then analyses the results, repeating the procedure if necessary.
Almost 20 people turned up to a first ever training session run by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) at the Civic Hall to learn about the equipment and how to carry out CPR.
The event, including a video presentation, was led by Lisa Stanway, a paramedic with NWAS, and volunteer community first responder Jamie Jackson.
Lisa said: “Recently, 15 lives have been saved in Greater Manchester when CPR and a defibrillator were used.
“Oldham has been flagged up as an area where more AEDS are needed, especially in the winter when it is an area we can struggle to get to.
“Defibrillators can be needed by people of any age, at any time and it’s so important we can have them accessible 24 hours a day for the pubic to use.
“We want to get as many local people familiar with the use of a defibrillator and also CPR as this can save lives between a cardiac arrest and the arrival of the ambulance service.”
Catherine Johnstone co-ordinated the free session on behalf of Uppermill Community Association and hopes to hold another in the New Year after a positive response.
She said: “The event went really well – 17 people left feeling competent and confident.
I have already had enquiries about a future event.
Catherine, who runs Saddleworth Physiotherapy Clinic on Uppermill High Street, continued: “My interest is from my annual CPR training for my job.
“I am very aware survival from cardiac arrest outside of hospital is very poor. I felt passionately we should raise awareness and improve CPR among the public.
“I hope more people will get involved as it is really important for people to be aware it’s the combination of early recognition plus CPR plus defibrillation that will increase survival rates.”
The new defibrillator in Uppermill is one of a network of 15 being installed in Saddleworth thanks to a campaign led by former borough and Parish Councillor Alan Roughley.
The first was installed by Lisa at Denshaw Village Hall in October and others will soon be in place at locations including The Three Crowns at Scouthead, Tame Valley Tennis and Squash Club in Greenfield and phone boxes at The Swan Inn and Ladcastle Road in Dobcross.
Meanwhile, generous-spirited Tom Harrop and his wife Janette have been the passionate driving force behind fundraising for a life-saving defibrillator at the Old Original at Scouthead.
On Saturday, December 12 villagers met at the ancient hostelry to participate in first aid training, following the installation of the defibrillator.
Coordinator of the project and the defibrillator ‘guardian’ is local resident, Margret Barnes, a retired Hospital Administrator.
She said: “The Old Original is the heart of the hamlet and its fitting it should be the home of the defibrillator.
“A really big thank you to Tom and Janette for their wonderful fund raising efforts and for allowing their premises to be used for this valuable training session.”
If you would like to attend a free training session in Uppermill in the New Year, please find out more and register online.