PEOPLE across the country will be learning vital life-saving skills today as part of Restart a Heart Day.
It comes as Droitwich now has 35 fully accessible community AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) at venues across the town.
Two years ago, during the ‘Shocktober’ awareness month, we were approached by West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic and Droitwich Community First Responder Simon Clare.
He was concerned the town only had one defibrillator which was not fully accessible so he teamed up with Peter Richards from Droitwich AED and us at The Standard to launch a campaign to change all that.
Now, as well as the 35 fully accessible defibs, Droitwich AED has also provided a further 12 to other areas and is in talks with the Droitwich Salvation Army for one at its base to serve that part of the Spa.
Mr Clare said: “It’s an incredible turn-around in just two years – with the help of Droitwich AED and West Midlands Ambulance Service – we have gone from just one defibrillator that was locked away to 35 in the town.”
The AEDs across Droitwich have already been accessed several times by people ringing 999 and the ambulance service advising them of the location of the closest AED in order to try to improve the outcome of a cardiac arrest.
Mr Richards from Droitwich AED has also taught life-saving skills to 111 pupils at Westacre Middle School on Friday and will be teaching the same attributes to more than 70 people at the town’s fire station today.
He said: “We couldn’t have done all this without the support of the community and local people.
“We have also had some tremendous support from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.
“We had 30 of their redundant defibrillators.
“They decided to replace theirs earlier this year and they were available for a price which was just too good to turn down.
“But all this effort and all this money is worthless unless we have people trained in CPR.
“It is essential people have the skills to keep patients alive until the defib gets to them.”
And the group now faces another challenge – because the batteries expire they need replacing after four years.
Over the next three years between £12,500 and £15,000 will be needed to ensure all the defibs are kept operational.
To raise funds Mr Richards has been offering First Aid training for £30 which is a lot cheaper than many courses.
More fund-raising activities will also be taking place to ensure the defibs are maintained.
Alternatively search for Droitwich AED on Facebook.