Help for heart attack victims in Biggar area

Biggar Rotary members  Michael Hunter,  Mike Chad, and  Barbara Duffner receiving training from Tommy Robertson,  retired Ambulance driver (Picture Sarah Peters).
Biggar Rotary members Michael Hunter, Mike Chad, and Barbara Duffner receiving training from Tommy Robertson, retired Ambulance driver (Picture Sarah Peters).

Anyone collapsing with heart problems in Biggar, Symington or Abington in the future could have a better chance of survival, thanks to Rotary club members and a lot of teamwork.

With backing from the Clyde Wind Farm community fund, the Rotary club has taken part in a scheme run by the British Heart Foundation to provide more defibrillators throughout the country to potentially restart the heart of a casualty in an emergency.

And Biggar Medical Practice’s patient group is organising training in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) by chest compression and the use of the defibrillators for local groups.

Training is also being done at the town’s high school.

The Rotary club has spearheaded the project, and it has seen one of the defibrillators already installed in the Gillespie Centre in Biggar, with the blessing of its trustees, while the other two are lined up to be installed in the village halls.

“It is something the British Heart Foundation has been promoting for the whole country,” said Rotarian Mike Hunter.

“They have a scheme to promote learning of CPR.

“In America, CPR is taught in schools, and apparently nine of out 10 Americans know how to do this, but in Britain it is one out of 10.

“The Biggar patient group has taken on the training and is doing this with community groups and in the high school.

“If someone has a problem, collapses in the street, you have to do something quickly. You need to get CPR going.

“If the heart has stopped, that is when you have to get the defibrillator and shock the person back.”

The defibrillators have recordings which talk non-medical people through their use once activated.

“It talks to you, so almost anyone can use it, but it helps if people have a bit of understanding of what they are doing,” added Mike.

The defibrillators are being supplied by the British Heart Foundation, with the Rotary club paying the charity £400 towards the cost of each of the three machines, but the biggest expense is in the cost of the special cabinets needed to house them, that being another £5,000.

However, the three sites are all within the catchment area of the huge Clyde wind farm, and its donation has covered almost the whole cost of the project.