Rowlands Castle equipped to save lives with new defibrillators

From left, Lisa Walker, clerk at Rowlands Castle Parish Council, Paul Winnicott, who owns the wall where the defibrillator is located and Gill Whatley, admin assistant at the parish council. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151697-6827)
From left, Lisa Walker, clerk at Rowlands Castle Parish Council, Paul Winnicott, who owns the wall where the defibrillator is located and Gill Whatley, admin assistant at the parish council. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151697-6827)

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TWO life-saving devices have been installed following a huge community effort.

People in Rowlands Castle were determined to have their own defibrillators that the public could use at any time.

Our aim is to provide life support training to members of the community

Gill Whatley

The kit is used to ‘shock’ the heart back into action when someone has a cardiac arrest.

But, until now, the nearest defibrillator was in Havant.

There were lots of smiles as the defibrillators were finally installed outside the Home Hardware shop in the centre of the village and outside the parish hall in Links Lane.

It comes as another success in The News’ Heartbeat campaign, which was launched in July to encourage more defibrillators to be installed in our communities.

Since the campaign was launched, several defibrillators have been installed in busy public places, including Havant bus station and The Fareham pub.

Gill Whatley is the administrative assistant for Rowlands Castle Parish Council.

She said: ‘In the UK there are in excess of 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year, and in our neighbouring parish an elderly lady sadly died after the emergency services took over 30 minutes to arrive.

‘Had a Public Access Defibrillator been available, her chances of survival could have increased from seven per cent to 70 per cent.

‘For these reasons Rowlands Castle Parish Council identified the need for PADs to be placed within the parish.

‘Thanks to the generous donations from local organisations, residents and council grants, we have now been able to install two devices in lockable cabinets.

‘We hope to secure further funding in order to provide two more units in the near future.’

Having the kit in the village is vital due to the large retired population, sports grounds and the fact it is frequented by walkers.

Gill added: ‘Rowlands Castle has a considerable number of residents of pensionable age, where the risks of cardiac arrest increase.

‘We also have a large and well-used recreation ground used by local football, cricket and tennis clubs, as well as members of the general public and, while relatively uncommon, sudden cardiac arrest can occur playing sport in people of all ages. Our aim is to provide life support training to members of the community.’