Lord Provost launches city defibrillator project

Edinburgh is to benefit from a new project from St John Scotland to install life-saving defibrillators in strategic sites across the city.

The Lord Provost will launch the appeal in partnership with St John Scotland at a City Chambers reception tonight (Wednesday 31 August) to support the roll out of twenty Public Access Automated Emergency Defibrillators, or PAAEDs, across Edinburgh over the next twelve months.

The project will see the Edinburgh Committee of St John Scotland deploy the devices and create local partnerships with three key groups of participants: Donors, Hosts and Guardians. 

The Lord Provost Donald Wilson, who has been made an Officer of St John, said: “By making it easy for businesses and people who want to help, this ground-breaking initiative will increase the provision of defibrillators in Edinburgh and install the machines in key sites like community centres, churches, tram and train stops.

“Not only will St John Scotland increase the number of these incredible devices in Edinburgh, but they will make sure the machines are maintained. Their volunteers will raise awareness of how simple they are to use so that eventually, nobody in Edinburgh should need to think twice before using one in an emergency.

“Having been involved in pushing the City Defibrillator Project off the ground I am delighted to see it deployed. Without a doubt it is thanks to the awareness raising of the Jamie Skinner Foundation that this project exists and that countless lives will be saved.”

Major General Mark J Strudwick, said: “As Prior of St John Scotland, I am delighted to see our Edinburgh Committee progress this extremely valuable, lifesaving project for the city to this stage. We look forward to garnering support from the local community in Edinburgh to turn this initiative into reality.”

Businesses, voluntary organisations, civic institutions and individuals will be able to provide funding for public access defibrillators by applying online at the newly launched St John and the City website.

St John Scotland will place the life saving devices at strategic sites - known as Hosts - across Edinburgh, taking into account the volume of people in the immediate vicinity.

Guardians will operate as a team of volunteers who will regularly monitor all the defibrillators ensuring they are in place and in working order.  A member from the Edinburgh Team of St John Scotland (known as a Coordinator) will be responsible for the Defibrillator Register, ensuring the register is up to date and all the PAAED locations are mapped out.  This information will be shared with the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The framework has been developed following a pilot project undertaken in early 2015 which saw St John Scotland successfully partner with Network Rail to provide necessary support for hosting four PAAEDs at Waverley Station. One year on, these defibrillators have been deployed four times, and used to tackle two heart attacks, demonstrating the benefits of having immediate access to lifesaving and easy to use equipment in public places.

The easy-to-use units can prove vital in the event of someone suffering a heart attack. It is hoped that the delivery of PAAEDs will be achieved through a combination of developing partnerships with organisations, businesses and other enterprises and through direct fundraising from the citizens of Edinburgh who wish to contribute to their well-being.

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