‘Defibs’ plan after heart attack scare

DEFIBRILLATORS could soon be installed at town halls after Kirklees Council submitted a planning application.

The life-saving equipment is set to be placed outside Cleckheaton and Batley Town Halls so that anyone calling 999 can access them in an emergency.

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. 

The move was prompted by an incident last October when a performer at a Cleckheaton Town Hall show had a heart attack. A nurse from the audience stepped in to perform CPR until the ambulance arrived – but had she not been there, the outcome might not have been as positive.

It highlighted to the council the importance of defibrillators and at the time Coun Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) vowed to get the vital piece of equipment installed at town halls across the district.

Kirklees officials are also looking to move the defibrillator located inside the Dewsbury Customer Service Centre to the outside of the building, so that it can be used when the centre is closed.

The council sought advice from the ambulance service before making the decision to install the devices. 

They were advised that defibrillators should be located no closer than 600m apart, be registered with the ambulance service so that they can direct people to them in an emergency, and have security measures in place to reduce the risk of vandalism.

The defibrillators are secured in locked cases that can be opened with a code provided by the call handler when 999 is dialled. 

The call handler will also give advice on how to use it.

A spokesman said: “Kirklees Town Halls host a range of events from nationally acclaimed musical shows to lunch time concerts and council meetings to educational courses. With so many people coming through the doors it makes sense to have life-saving equipment close by so that first aiders or members of the public can use them whilst waiting for emergency services to arrive.”

When dealing with a cardiac incident, the presence of a defibrillator can increase the chances of survival as it requires no previous training and can in some cases restart a person’s heart before trained medical personnel arrive.

The planning applications are open for comments until April 19.

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