Falkirk area needs more life-saving devices

Rotary Club of Polmont president Brian Glanville and Craig Davidson operations manager of the Inchyra Hotel
Rotary Club of Polmont president Brian Glanville and Craig Davidson operations manager of the Inchyra Hotel

Steps are being taken by the local authority and various organisations to bring more life-saving defibrillators to the Falkirk area.

Public access versions of the devices, which deliver a high energy electric shock to victims of cardiac arrest, can now be found in a variety of public places, including shopping centres and train stations, throughout the country.

The Scottish Ambulance Service states the use of defibrillators is estimated to save one in four people experiencing a cardiac arrest and this is likely to improve with a more extensive availability of defibrillators.

To accomplish this the service is now implementing a strategy to co-ordinate a network of defibrillators across the country.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of Falkirk Council last week as members looked at a progress report on the provision of defibrillators, the identification of high risk buildings and locations and the moves to increase the number of devices in the area.

Councillor David Alexander said he was happy with the progress that has been made, but a little surprised by some of the locations defibrillators had been installed and alarmed by some of the places which still did not have one.

He said: “There are community centres missed out, including Wesfield and Thornhill. You have defibrillators at nurseries, but you would be less likely to have to deal with a cardiac arrest in a nursery than you would at a community centre.”

Members heard work was carried out in conjunction with the Scottish Ambulance Service to find the “most appropriate” places to put defibrillators and that the ability to get easy access to premises was always an important factor.

Experts identified 14 premises in the Falkirk Council area which they regard as possible suitable locations that may benefit from the installation of additional defibrillators.

Each unit costs around £1000 so the council agreed to make £14,000 available to progress the plan.

Councillor Gerry Goldie said: “Should we not be striving to get defibrillators in every public building? We have them in Grangemouth Sports Complex, but not in the Mariner Centre in Camelon.

“It’s one of our busiest leisure centres, so you would think it would be good place to have one.”

Polmont Rotary Club has helped make two defibrillators available to the local community, donating one to the Claremont Inn in Polmont and another to the Inchyra Grange Hotel.

The decision to use funds collected from a charity event to locate a defibrillator in a luxury four star hotel and spa might seem strange, but, according to the club their decision took into account ease of access and security.

Rotarian Ken Donald said: “We first thought of a place in the Main Street, but that would have required more money to ensure the equipment was secure and protected.

“We then looked at places where people would have 24/7 access to the defibrillator, or at least a premises which is open for most of the day all week round.

“The Inchyra did not have a defibrillator so we asked if they wanted to pay half the cost to site one at the hotel for the community.

“We supplied £500 we raised through our Swimarathon Challenge and the Inchyra put up the rest. You have the Little Kerse football pitches just next door and everyone will have access to it if required.”