Lyme Heartbeat Day to raise funds and awareness for defibrillators

Lyme Heartbeat members (from left) Virgil Turner, John King, Rob James and Steve Postles standing beside the newly installed defibrillator near Monmouth Beach

TWO new defibrillators have recently been installed in Lyme Regis by a fundraising group now known as Lyme Heartbeat.

The automated external defibrillators were purchased following a highly successful fundraising campaign last year. These potentially life-saving devices are now fully operational and registered with the South Western Ambulance Service.

One is located at the back of Monmouth Beach car park, past the Boat Building Academy, and the other is situated at the rear of the Marine Theatre.

Lyme Heartbeat organised a boat jumble, raffle and crowdfunding campaign in September 2017, raising over £4,500 for the equipment.

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to be used by members of the public and are very effective at guiding the operator through the process. The device is used to give an electric shock to help restart a patient’s heart when they are in cardiac arrest.

Organiser Steve Postles commented: “Lyme Heartbeat are extremely grateful to the support of the local community and businesses in helping us raise enough funds for two units.

“We also thank Lyme regis Town Council and the Marine Theatre for enabling these units to be installed as planned.”

The organisation is now planning to hold ‘Lyme Heartbeat Day’ on Sunday, September 16 in the Marine Parade shelters, with hopes of raising funds to purchase an additional unit and to support the ongoing maintenance of the existing devices.

In a joint statement, organisers Rob James, Virgil Turner, Steve Postles and John King said: “Our plan is to increase the provision of 24-hour access defibrillators right across Lyme Regis as the availability of defibrillators can help to save lives.

“When a heart stops beating from cardiac arrest, every second counts. The chances of recovery are reduced by about 10 per cent after each minute without action.

“Effective CPR coupled with the use of a defibrillator within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest can produce survival rates in the 49-75 per cent range. “If there were more public access defibrillators, more people could get a life-saving shock as quickly as possible, ahead of an ambulance arriving.”

Indications are that many members of the public don’t know what an AED is, where to find one or how to use one. This is despite AEDs being suitable for use by untrained members of the public.

Lyme’s chief fire officer and First Responder, Virgil Turner, commented: “We know it’s not enough to have the devices in situ, educating the local community on resuscitation and defibrillator usage is a priority which is why we will be holding a number of demonstrations during Lyme Heartbeat Day.”

Full details of Lyme Heartbeat Day can be found on the website or by following the organisation on social media. The website also features a database and map of the 24 hour public access defibrillators currently in operation in the town.

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