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Council invests in life-saving defibrillators across South Ribble

Cllr Titherington with AED at Civic Centre

Life-saving defibrillators are being installed across the borough thanks to funding from South Ribble Borough Council.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) will initially be located at 14 different sites - including parks, leisure centres, sports pavilions and playing fields.

The Council is investing more than £25,000 in obtaining and fitting the units, which could make all the difference in a medical emergency.

AEDs are already 'rescue ready' at Worden Park, Moss Side Playing Fields, Penwortham Community Centre in Kingsfold, and the Civic Centre in Leyland.

They will soon also be in place at Withy Grove Park, Higher Walton Community Centre (next to King George V playing fields) and at the playing fields at St Cuthbert's (Lostock Hall), Tardy Gate (Lostock Hall), The Holme (Bamber Bridge) and New Longton.

Four other locations are still to be confirmed, while it is hoped the project could in future be expanded to provide additional units at other sites.

The installation of the defibrillators was proposed by the Council's Deputy Leader, Councillor Mick Titherington, after the distressing incident at UEFA Euro 2020 in which Denmark star Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

Their importance was further underlined only last week when a Newcastle United supporter collapsed during a high-profile televised Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Cllr Titherington, who is also the Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "What happened to Christian Eriksen at this summer's Euros shocked us all. Thankfully, with the use of a defibrillator and the quick-thinking of paramedics and others at the scene, he survived.

"However, it reminded us how precious life is and how everything can change in an instant.

"In a medical emergency like this, time is absolutely of the essence. By installing these defibrillator units across the borough, we are increasing the chances of survival of anybody who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest.

"Only last week, at St James' Park, we saw again how the presence of a defibrillator can make the difference between life and death - while closer to home, our brilliant staff at Leyland Leisure Centre were also able to respond quickly to help one of our customers.

"As a Council, it's not often you spend money on something you hope is never used! But if these defibrillators save even one life then they will be worth every penny - and more."

Cllr Titherington was shown how to operate one of the new AEDs as part of first aid training at the Civic Centre - provided by locally-based Centaur Training Services. However, the units don't require specialist training and deliver easy-to-follow voice prompts so they can be used by anyone at any time in the event an emergency.

Cllr Titherington added: "I'm really surprised by how simple they are to use. Nevertheless, I'd encourage everyone to get first aid training because you never know when it might be needed.

"It's daunting to think you might find yourself in a situation where somebody else's life is in your hands, but with these defibrillators everyone has the potential to be a lifesaver."

An AED is a lightweight, battery-operated, portable device that checks the heart's rhythm and can send an electric shock to restore it to normal.

Sticky pads with sensors, called electrodes, are attached to the chest of someone who is having a cardiac arrest. The electrodes send information about the person's heart rhythm to a computer in the AED, which then analyses the heart rhythm to find out whether an electric shock is necessary.

The defibrillator will only allow you to deliver a shock if it is needed, meaning users can't do so by accident.

Each AED will be stored in its own lockable cabinet, which will be heated to ensure the device isn't affected by long periods of cold weather. The cabinets will also be alarmed for security and to prevent misuse.

North West Ambulance Service will be able to provide the access code should someone contact 999 in an emergency.

The model of AED purchased by the Council is one that negates the requirement for separate pads for adults and children, meaning the defibrillators can easily be used to help people of all ages.

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