Putting the heartbeat back into rural communities

Picture of a WAT IF? trustee and a Muirhall Energy representative outside an Angling club which has a defibrillator on wall
Lorraine Macrae

Timing is key to saving a life, that’s the advice from the British Heart Foundation and Scottish Ambulance Service.  

After a cardiac arrest, chances of survival drop by 10% for every minute that passes without treatment, which is why ‘Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation’ (WAT IF?) is installing Community Access Defibrillators in their communities. A defibrillator is a life-saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock and research shows that use of a defibrillator within five minutes of a cardiac arrest provides the best possible chances of survival.

WAT IF? has already installed Community Defibs at Cobbinshaw Fishing Club in West Lothian, and at Tarbrax Village Hall in South Lanarkshire, and have agreements to install them at Woolfords Village Hall and Auchengray.

The defibrillator is housed in a vandal proof, heated, stainless steel cabinet, guarded by a key pad. Upon receiving a call the ambulance service will direct the caller to the machine and will issue the access code. The defibrillator also has a voice over instruction mode to aid the user, as well as a video presentation to help those who are hard of hearing.

The project has been supported by the Community Heartbeat Trust, and Martin Fagan, National Secretary, from the CHT explains why these publically accessible defibs are so important:

“In rural communities, where emergency service response times can be longer, having publically accessible defibs really are a life-saving resource. They are safe to be used by all members of the public, and are designed only to work when needed, and so can be used by anyone in an emergency.”

The Defib project has been funded through the Community Benefit agreement between WAT IF and Muirhall Windfarm Extension, with Muirhall Energy pleased to support such a vital community resource. Jason Morin of Muirhall Energy said:

“It is extremely important for local people to have access to, and be aware of this resource in addition to our local first responders, should an emergency situation occur. If the defibrillators can help to save one life, then it will be money very well spent.”