RESIDENTS of Bovey Tracey now benefit from an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) installed at the Bovey Tracey Riverside Community Centre.
In 2021, Devon Air Ambulance crews attended 333 patients who were suffering a cardiac arrest and this year they have so far attended 300 more patients whose heart had stopped beating effectively. Cardiac arrest is the most common reason for the charity’s emergency medical team to be called to help.
With this in mind, in January this year, the charity launched their award-winning Help with all your Heart campaign, an initiative designed to encourage bystander help, by educating the general public to be able to identify someone in cardiac arrest, and secondly to have the confidence to use a defibrillator and carry out effective CPR should the need arise.
So far, over 240 people have attended these free training sessions, and more are planned for 2023.
Another significant part of encouraging bystander help in the event of a cardiac arrest has been the installation of AEDs at the 19 Devon Air Ambulance charity shops, however, with several defibrillators already located close to their Newton Abbot shop, it was unnecessary to place an additional AED on that site.
The charity became aware that Bovey Tracey Town Council was seeking to install a new defibrillator at the Riverside Community Centre, which was initially brought up at a meeting of the Bovey Tracey Information Centre Directors, when discussing updating its Health & Safety policy. Bovey Tracey Town Councillor, Tony Allen suggested that, as a busy community focal point, an AED might well be needed there.
Whilst that first meeting helped kick start a conversation with many local businesses who were keen to support the concept, a direct offer of help from Devon Air Ambulance meant a new AED was able to be installed at the Community Centre at the end of November.
The new Public Access AED, located at the entrance to the library, is a fully automated machine which can be used to help someone who is in cardiac arrest. An AED provides a step-by-step voice instruction which guides the user through the process of assessing someone’s heart rhythm, and if that person is found to be in cardiac arrest it will then (and only then) deliver a shock to help that person.
Cllr Tony Allen, who has led the project on behalf of the Town Council said:
‘This AED really could help a save a life and anyone can operate it without prior training. If you think someone is in cardiac arrest, you can simply come and take this machine, and follow the automated instruction to guide you through helping someone. The AED won’t shock someone if they are not in cardiac arrest. As it happens, the AED was called for only five days after its installation for a nearby emergency, but in the event was not required ’
‘This project has helped the Town Council engage with several local businesses in the area about the need for AEDs and it is thankful for their offers of financial support. We are also extremely grateful to Devon Air Ambulance which has helped provide this vital resource.’
Toby Russell, Projects Manager at Devon Air Ambulance commented:
‘It is our pleasure to be able to find a suitable location for this AED unit, research has shown that the early intervention of a bystander could improve the chances of survival for somebody suffering a Cardiac Arrest. Our aim is to help save lives and placing this unit into the local community of Bovey Tracey could do just that.’
Following the successful installation of the AED at the information centre, Bovey Tracey Town Council is keen to raise the profile of ‘The Circuit’, a national database of registered defibrillators and where they are located in communities.
Once registered, these AED units are visible on a nationwide map, allowing 999 call handlers to direct you to the nearest active defibrillator to the incident.
Find out more here: https://www.thecircuit.uk
If you would like to register your interest in attending a future CPR and Defibrillator training session with Devon Air Ambulance, visit - https://www.daat.org/cardiac-training