Defib scheme is gathering pace

Linlithgow first responders held a training session at Kingsfield Golf Centre
Linlithgow first responders held a training session at Kingsfield Golf Centre

Linlithgow is probably one of the safest towns in Scotland to be in if you‘re unlucky enough to suffera heart attack.

The local Community First Responder Scheme, initially set up after the Journal and Gazette’s public ‘Heartstart’ appeal, has now managed to site six public access defibrillators, with a further two to be located shortly.

The idea behind the scheme, which is run and overseen by the Scottish Ambulance Service, is to ensure that a rapid response service is available for cardiac emergencies in rural areas, where, due to the geographic location, an ambulance may take longer to arrive than normal.

A Community First Responder scheme steps into that gap, providing trained lifesavers who have access to the emergency equipment needed, including a defibrillator for re-starting a heart which has suffered a cardiac arrest.

David Booth, scheme co-ordinator for Linlithgow said: “We decided to expand the local scheme to site public access defibrillators after the idea was initially mooted by the Low Port Centre in 2012.

They raised funds through a fun day event as did staff and pupils at Watt House, Linlithgow Academy, which allowed us to buy eight defibrillators.

“We now have six of these units sited, with staff at the 
locations having been trained in their use.

“These have been placed at The Low Port Centre, Linlithgow Rose Club, two with the Linlithgow Union Canal Society and one each at Kingsfield Golf Centre and Linlithgow Golf Club.”

The one located at Linlithgow Golf Club is a poignant reminder given the recent death on the fairway of club member, Cameron ‘Cammy’ Thompson from a heart attack.

Talks are ongoing with other retailers in the Burgh, with a view to siting even more of the life-saving devices.