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Lifesaving group reveals need for defibs in gyms

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 02, 2014

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A LIFE-SAVING charity has urged all leisure venues to invest in a defibrillator to help protect the lives of visitors and staff.

St John Ambulance has been campaigning for several years now for sites such as gyms and fitness centres to buy automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to potentially save someone in an emergency.

The charity decided to speak out as part of the Mail’s ‘Stay Fit, Stay Alive’ campaign which aims to get all gyms to install one of the devices. It was launched after doctors revealed the circumstances that left a 64-year-old brain damaged after suffering a cardiac arrest at a local gym could have been greatly improved if a defibrillator had been used.

John Cavanagh, regional director, said: “St John Ambulance believes that no-one should die because of a lack of first aid when they need it.

“The survival rate increases by more than 50 per cent if an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used within the first four minutes, so immediate defibrillation could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

A spokesman for the charity said: “Modern AEDs talk users through the exact steps to take in a first aid emergency, and are very reliable.

“You can’t do any harm with an AED, as they read the casualty’s electrical system and will only give a shock if their heart has stopped.

“You don’t need training to use an AED as they give audible instructions.

“However, we recommend that people who might need to use them, such as workplace first aiders, are trained to reduce possible anxiety during an emergency.

“Our training courses increase confidence in using AEDs and teach other essential first aid skills. CPR and other emergency skills work hand-in-hand with AEDs to offer the best chance of survival.”

So far, the Mail’s campaign has won support from the likes of Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths, the British Heart Foundation and Branston Golf and Country Club.

More information is available by visiting www.sja.org.uk

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