Life-saving equipment is needed now

Councillor Rob Merson  believes defibrillators should be readily accessible in all communities.
Councillor Rob Merson believes defibrillators should be readily accessible in all communities.

An Ellon councillor is calling for more life-saving equipment in local communities.

Councillor Rob Merson believes public access defibrillators can play a crucial role in saving the lives of heart attack victims.

Formartine Community Safety Group has agreed to help spearhead a drive to instal more defibrillators in communities around 
the area.

Councillor Merson, chair of Formartine Area Committee, recently met Scottish Ambulance Service managers and was struck by their enthusiasm for the life-saving kit.

He told the Times: “Modern technology has developed to such an extent that a complete novice can now use these machines – which literally talks you through the procedure step by step, and has built-in fail-safe measures to prevent their misapplication.

“Slains and Collieston Community Council took action on this issue some considerable time ago, and I commended their initiative for installing a public access defibrillator.

“As a coastal community some distance from the main road, I thought that it was a great idea, and potentially crucial in adverse weather conditions. I now recognise that this is a piece of life-saving equipment which ought to be readily accessible in all communities.”

Councillor Merson said grants may be available from both the Scottish Ambulance Service and the British Heart Foundation to finance the major share of any installation,

Chair of Formartine Community Safety Group Moira Muir has supported the idea.

She said: “I hope that we might persuade other local communities to follow the lead of Slains and Collieston Community Council in securing a much wider roll-out of this essential life-saving equipment.”

The group will liaise with potential fund sources and seek the involvement of community councils and other appropriate local organisations.

Collieston now has two debrillators - one in the High Street and another at the community centre.

Local resident David Stewart was among a small group of volunteers who organised a public appeal for the first one.

He said: “It’s great for a community to have access to at least one defibrillator because time is so important if someone suffers a cardiac arrest. It is even more important if the community is a bit off the beaten-track.

“People should not be deterred by the fact that the defibrillator is a bit of technical kit - it is very straightforward to use, and training can by provided through the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“As far as fund-raising is concerned we found that people were very willing to support it. The response was very generous.” Mr Stewart added that there has been no call to use either of the defibrillators so far, but it is “definitely reassuring to know they are there.”