Teaching the town to help save lives

Bury Times: Fabrice Muamba Fabrice Muamba

Life-saving defibrillators are set to be installed in Ramsbottom — and the public are being invited to learn how to use them.

The first of two machines in the town centre will be located outside the Railway pub in Bridge Street, and the second location is being finalised. Members of the public are being invited to a defibrillator familiarisation session at Ramsbottom Fire Station tonight at 7pm.

The free two-hour session will include a demonstration of how to perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and advice on how to help somebody who is in cardiac arrest.

The machines have been provided by the ambulance service, but the boxes which encase them, which cost about £1,000 each, have been purchased through the fundraising efforts of the Ramsbottom Business Group, Ramsbottom Rotary Club and Park Farm in Walmersley.

The defibrillators can only be accessed in an emergency situation.

If the machine is needed, a call must be placed to 999, and the operator will then tell the user the password, which is needed to open the case.

Rossendale Community First Responders are behind the installation, and Dawn Taylor, who has been a first responder for 10 years, says she was surprised at the lack of defibrillators in the area.

First responders are volunteers who help people who have dialled 999 with serious, life threatening conditions, and they sometimes arrive at the scene before ambulances.

Dawn said: “I thought it was amazing that such a busy town with a lot of tourism did not have a defibrillator.”

Dawn, who is from Rossendale, says there are already more than 10 defibrillators in the Rossendale Valley.

She added: “The familiarisation session allows people to have a play with them, and show there is nothing to be frightened of. You cannot hurt anybody with this.”

The defibrillator will only shock the patient if they are in ventricular fibrillation, and will not be deployed in any other situation.

The introduction of defibrillators in Ramsbottom comes about 10 months after three machines were installed in Tottington, after a fundraising campaign led by Judith Kelly, of the Tottington Community Defibrillator Appeal Group.More than £6,000 was raised and former Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest last year, officially launched the defibrillators campaign.

Mrs Kelly says she is thankful that the machines in Tottington have not yet been needed, and welcomed the introduction of the machines in Ramsbottom.

She said: “It is all about making people aware of how the defibrillators can be used. Some people have told me it is the wrong thing to do, but technically the person is dead, and you can do them no harm.

“Some members of the public were a bit hesitant, and it is just about trying to educate people and let them know these machines are life-savers.”

Anyone who wants to attend the session should call Dawn Taylor on 07812 303856 or email dawntaylor_6@hotmail.

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