A FREE defibrillator awareness session took place at Berryfield Village Hall on Saturday 14th January, educating the community about using defibrillators and what to expect for someone who is having a cardiac arrest.
Organised by Melksham Without Parish Council (MWPC), the awareness session was delivered by Community Heartbeart Trust trainer, Paul Abbott, who shared information about what a defibrillator is and the steps in using them; what is a sudden cardiac arrest; how to dial 999 and what questions to expect from the paramedics; how to do CPR and why.
Paul said, “It is always good to see a good turn out from a community and to share some knowledge and give people more confidence in the use of defibrillators.
“These can be life saving devices and the more people that attend these awareness sessions, the better. It was also good to be one of the first events and activities to take place in the very nice new village hall. Thanks must always go to those that have attended and those that always work tirelessly behind the scenes, not only organising these events, but also raising the awareness and funds for defibs in their areas.”
MWPC clerk Teresa Strange said, “It was definitely worth having a demonstration on how to use one of these. I know that they are self-explanatory, but it has put my mind at ease and prepared me on what to expect if I ever had to use one.
“The parish council installed a number of community access defibrillators around the parish area of Melksham Without a few years ago. People should always call 999 first to send for help and they will be able to advise you on the code to access the defibrillator cabinet if it’s the appropriate treatment.
“These defibrillators are designed for community use, therefore no training is required to use them. The ones installed by the parish council have a visual video screen which shows you what to do, where to locate the pads, as well as voice instructions to tell you what to do.
“You cannot accidently hurt someone by using the defibrillator as it will only allow you to press the shock button if it detects that the heart has stopped and requires that action.
“The defibrillators are checked regularly by our volunteers which we greatly appreciate, to ensure that they are in rescue ready condition, and are yearly serviced by Community Heartbeat Trust. But if you do see that a defibrillator has been tampered with, or a red rather than a green light is showing, please call Melksham Without Parish Council on 01225 705700 or on the out of hours number on 07341 474234.”
The locations of defibrillators in the town are: Melksham Riverside Centre; AVAD Convenience Store, Forest Road; Water Meadow Pub, Cranesbill Road; Melksham Assembly Hall in the Market Place; Melksham Fire Station, Semington Road; Melksham Store, Beanacre Road; the SSE Building, Spa Road; and the pavilion in King George V Park.
Defibrillators in rural areas can be found at: The Pilot Pub, Bowerhill; the pavilion at Bowerhill Sports Field; The New Inn, Berryfield; Berryfield Village Hall; Shaw Village Hall; Whitley Reading Rooms; St Barnabas Church (entrance porch), Beanacre; and at Westbury Packaging on Lancaster Road, Bowerhill Industrial Estate.
MWPC may schedule further dates for awareness sessions to take place.