February’s defibrillator training session attracted a gathering of over 30 people. For those not able to attend, the following information may be useful: 

If you come across someone who is unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing, or not breathing normally, they’re in cardiac arrest. First, call 999 or 112*. Next, start CPR to keep the blood flowing to the brain and around the body. After a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.

If you’re on your own, don’t interrupt the CPR to get a defibrillator. If possible, send someone else. When you call 999 or 112, the operator can tell you if there’s a public access defibrillator nearby and will give you the access code.

There are four defibrillators in Fairfield. The one outside Tesco is accessible to all 24/7, and there are others at Fairfield Park Lower School in Dickens Boulevard, at Bannatyne’s, and at the Baycroft nursing home, which you can access while those sites are open.

Do not panic. The defibrillator will talk to you and tell you what to do, and it won’t let you give a shock to someone who doesn’t need it.

*112 was introduced in 1995 across Europe in order to give a standard number for emergencies. It connects to the same services as 999 and works in exactly the same way. Calls to both 999 and 112 can work when you have no signal – but only IF they can hijack another network. This is what the ‘emergency calls only’ message means on some phones.