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Leader/Times Column 26th August 2016

Regular readers will know that I volunteer as a Community First Responder with the Ambulance Service, and am passionate about getting more defibrillators across Pendle. It is great to see more people signing up as First Responders and I have been pleased to recently welcome Emily from Colne and Hayley from Padiham, who have completed their training and begun volunteering.

When people suffer from a heart attack, how quickly they get help determines their chances of survival. Every minute counts. 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest each year but fewer than one in ten survive. Often, it comes down to whether someone nearby knows what to do and has the right kit to hand.  That is why I chose to train as a First Responder and have worked with various local groups and schools to ensure more defibrillators are available.  

Defibrillators are becoming an increasingly familiar sight across Pendle, in former phone boxes, on the sides of community centres and pubs, but would you know how to use one in an emergency?  The most important thing to know is that defibrillators are very easy to use. The machine gives clear spoken instructions and you don't need training to use one.

If you come across someone who is not breathing, the most important thing is to call 999 and start CPR to keep the blood flowing around the body.  If you're on your own, don't interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it's possible, send someone else to get one.  Once the defibrillator is open and in position, all you have to do is follow the spoken instructions.  It’s as easy as that. To find out more there are numerous free Heartstart courses taking place across Pendle, or you could always consider joining me in signing up as a First Responder.

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