Charity joins forces with council to provide life-saving training

Published on 22 March 2016

A CHARITY has joined forces with the city council to provide training in how to use a defibrillator.

A heart defibrillator has recently been fitted to the outside of Thurnby Lodge Youth and Community Centre, paid for by Thurncourt ward councillor funding and the Thurnby Lodge District and Community Association.

Now members of the local community have been trained in how to use the equipment by an expert from the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), a local charity which works to prevent sudden heart deaths.

Local councillors Teresa Aldred and Paul Newcombe first came up with the idea of fitting a defibrillator, as they both have family members who suffer from heart disease or who are at risk of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS).

SADS is a condition which can strike at any time, often in people who seem otherwise fit and healthy.

The defibrillator was fitted to the outside of the building so that it is available at all times in the eventof an emergency. Instructions are supplied with every defibrillator and the equipment is designed to be easy to use, but training is still preferable, especially when it also covers other important life-saving techniques such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Retired cardiac nurse Alan Harrison White from the JHMT led a session at the community centre to show volunteers how to use the defibrillator and administer CPR.

Cllr Aldred, who is at risk of SADS herself, said: "We are delighted to have been able to get this vital piece of life-saving equipment installed for the local community.

"If people are reached within eight minutes of a cardiac arrest, they have a good chance of surviving.

"The community building is central to local people and is therefore a prime location for the defibrillator to be placed."

Cllr Newcombe added: "Cllr Aldred and I both know people who have heart disease and have been affected by SADS, so we wanted to do something to help.

"I'm really happy we could secure the money from ward funding and that the community association has matched this - if it can save just one person’s life, it will be worth it."

Alan Harrison White said: “It’s great news that Thurnby Lodge now has a community defibrillator, and I’m really pleased that I was able to help by offering free training. It is so important that people familiarise themselves with a defibrillator at the earliest opportunity so they are confident in using one at the scene of a cardiac arrest.  

“If CPR is started immediately and done effectively, by a trained person, and a defibrillator can be got to the victim within eight minutes, the majority of people could be saved. That’s got to be worth making sure you know CPR for – what’s more important than knowing how to save someone’s life?”

JHMT was set up in memory of Rothley teenager Joe Humphries, 14, who collapsed and died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) while out jogging in October 2012.

Since then, the Trust has campaigned tirelessly to help prevent sudden heart deaths, including helping to fund community defibrillators and providing free life-saving training for schools, community groups and sports clubs.

The defibrillator has been funded with £1,000 from ward councillor money and £900 from the Thurnby Lodge District and Community Association.