A Carmarthenshire county councillor who is also a paramedic has kick-started a campaign to ensure all councillors have vital life-saving skills.
Cllr Rob Evans, member for the Dafen ward, has brought fellow councillors from all corners of the chamber together to learn what to do if they ever find someone in cardiac arrest.
Representatives from the Welsh Ambulance Service and St John’s Ambulance have joined Cllr Evans to raise awareness and train councillors in the use of public access defibrillators and resuscitation techniques.
He is also arranging for a defibrillator to be placed in the reception of Carmarthen’s County Hall, and wants more councillors and council staff to volunteer for first aid training.
“As councillors, we are back and forth throughout our communities every day,” he said. “If we are trained in the use of defibrillators and CPR we could be saving lives. We can also pass on vital life-saving skills to our constituents and work together to increase the number of public access defibrillators available.”
Defibrillators are small portable devices that can be used when someone’s heart stops – known as cardiac arrest – automatically checking the heart rhythm and sending an electric shock to try and restore it to normal.
Anyone can use a public access defibrillator in this situation as part of first aid treatment, but Cllr Evans said the training and awareness he is offering fellow councillors will instil more confidence to help in an emergency.
In Wales, there are approximately 8,000 sudden cardiac arrests outside hospital each year.
Figures from Welsh Hearts – the heart charity for Wales – suggest that the survival rate after a sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospital is just three per cent, rising to 47 per cent when a defibrillator is used.
Cllr Jane Tremlett, executive board member for health and social care, said: “I’d like to commend Cllr Evans for all his efforts in supporting members to have this training and raising awareness about community defibrillators.
“This vital knowledge and access to equipment could be someone’s best chance of survival in an emergency and I’m pleased that Cllr Evans has had this support from his colleagues.”
Find out where public access defibrillators are located in your community at NHS Direct Wales:http://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/LocalServices/?s=DefibrillatorLocations
Get first aid tips and find courses near you at St John’s Ambulance:https://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx