North Tawton Town Council working to get third lifesaving defibrillator in town centre

By Zoë Uglow   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 17th February 2016 11:29 am
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NORTH Tawton Town Council has been working to get a third life saving defibrillator installed in the town centre.

The town’s new defibrillator is hoped to be sited on the north side of the Strawberry Field/Moor View Roundabout, above the council owned granite wall.

Discussions have taken place between the council and Western Power as to its feasibility.

Steve Whitely, North Tawton Town Councillor said: ’The two existing defibrillators in the town were financed with donations from individuals or businesses, either directly or indirectly via the residue from the Local Directory.

’The town’s first defibrillator is by the square on the wall of the council office – the second is at the bottom of the town near the Rugby Club, on the wall by the garage.

’We decided we should get a third because North Tawton is quite a long town and it is quite a long way from one end of the town to the other. A defibrillator is something that would need to be accessed quickly so we thought it would be a good idea to get a third machine. In a larger town like Okehampton or Tavistock I would imagine you would need around half a dozen.

’We often get people asking if there will be any training but what they don’t realise is that as soon as you open the box it will speak to you – you are given instructions and if it detects any kind of heartbeat on the person it is being used on it will not work.

’Someone asked me recently who would be able to use it and who is the first responder in the area, I told them the first responder is the guy that opens the box and gets the defibrillator out!

’We don’t buy our defibrillators ourselves, we lease them from the ambulance which means you pay a one off fee and they will check on it. There was an incident recently when it was taken out of the box and left outside in the rain and the ambulance service replaced it. So for us it is more beneficial to lease it, they also offer an annual talk and demo as part of it.’

The South West Ambulance Trust carry out periodic checks on the units, battery life and if something is missing from the kit they replace it.

Cllr Whitely added: ’Quite often defibrillators have a lock with a code on it and a person in an emergency has to phone the ambulance service to get the code. We thought we would sooner have it available all the time so when it is needed we can just pull it out. We were taught at the annual talk that we should use CPR first and treat the defibrillator as a last resort.’

Town and Parish (TAP) funding will pay for the third defibrillator and the installation will be privately funded, for which the council would like to express their gratitude.

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