Defibrillator register 'could save lives'

Defibrillator Image copyright PA
Image caption There is no legal requirement to register defibrillator

Communities that have defibrillators available in public spaces are being urged to register them online.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said it wanted to record the location of the devices to help 999 operators and potentially save lives.

They are often found in community centres, sports facilities and other public places.

Defibrillators give an electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone in cardiac arrest.

Public access defibrillators are found all over Scotland and are especially crucial in rural areas when it can take an ambulance longer to arrive.

Some organisations have already created their own registers of the defibrillators they manage - for example Trossachs Defibrillator, an app created by Trossachs Search and Rescue.

Now, the Scottish Ambulance Service has set up a dedicated website so people all over Scotland can register the devices.

Murray McEwan, the service's national resilience manager, said: "When someone experiences a cardiac arrest they are unconscious and not breathing, or not breathing normally, and their life is in immediate danger, which is why these defibrillators are so important.

"Currently, anyone can acquire a defibrillator and they are often based in community centres, sports facilities and other public places.

"While there is no legal obligation to register defibrillators, the Scottish Ambulance Service now has a dedicated registration website and we are appealing to local communities to ensure we know where these are, so when someone calls 999 we will know where the nearest defibrillator is if it is required."

Image copyright Trossachs Defibrillator
Image caption Some communities can already access a map of their local defibrillators

Mr McEwan called on the custodians of defibrillators to register them, saying the campaign could save lives.

The "Registration to Resuscitation Campaign" is supported by the British Heart Foundation Scotland.

The charity's director, James Cant, said suffering a cardiac arrest outside hospital was the most common, life-threatening medical emergency, but only about one in 20 people survives in Scotland.

"Fewer lives would be needlessly lost if more people felt confident using CPR skills and more defibrillators were available in public places," he added.

"If one of my loved ones suffered a cardiac arrest I'd want to know where the nearest defibrillator was and that it was on its way.

"By registering these devices with the Scottish Ambulance Service we can all ensure we're playing a part in potentially saving a life by using the chain of survival: calling 999, starting chest compressions and using a defibrillator."

Trossachs Search and Rescue said the defibrillators it manages had been used nine times and had saved six lives since the organisation launched its app last year to map them.

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