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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Horseshoe Pass gets its own lifesaving machine

* Representatives of the Welsh Ambulance Service, including Public Access Defibrillation
officer Gerard Rothwell (front, centre) and trainer Claire Hurford (third from left) with representatives of North Wales Police, including Chief Superintendent
Jeremy Vaughan (far left) at the Ponderosa Cafe on the Horseshoe Pass.

ONE of North Wales’ premier beauty spots has taken delivery of a life-saving defibrillator.

The Horseshoe Pass in Denbighshire, a mountain pass popular year-round with motorcyclists, now boasts an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), as part of the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Public Access Defibrillator programme.

There are approximately 8,000 sudden cardiac arrests annually in Wales. A cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.

The person may suffer permanent damage to the brain and other organs unless someone starts cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or delivers an electric shock through the chest wall, using a defibrillator.

Staffs at the Ponderosa Cafe were given training on the new device recently.

Claire Hurford, who delivered the training on behalf of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Once someone suffers a cardiac arrest every minute counts. They need immediate CPR from those around them, who will often be family members or passers-by. As well as good-quality CPR the patient needs to be treated with a defibrillator.

“An ambulance will obviously try and reach a seriously ill or injured patient as quickly as possible, but this defibrillator can be used in the minutes it takes for an ambulance to arrive. 

“The Horseshoe Pass is popular 365 days a year, and not just with bikers but with walkers and tourists too. Having a defibrillator nearby means people’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are vastly improved.”

Also there last Friday was North Wales Police Chief Superintendent Jeremy Vaughan, who was promoting the force’s Bikesafe scheme, which aims to drive down the number of bikers being hurt on the roads.

Mr Vaughan said: "North Wales Police and Bikesafe are proud to support the Welsh Ambulance Service with the instalment of the new defibrillator at the Ponderosa Cafe, which is a very popular spot with bikers.

"Bikesafe is a police-led motorcycle project that is run by most forces in the UK with the main aim being to reduce the number of bikers being hurt on the roads. FBoS courses (First Bike on Scene) are also provided which allows riders to receive training in motorcycle-related first aid.

“The installation of the defibrillator at this popular spot now also means Bikesafe trained volunteers will have an additional tool to provide life-saving treatment."

The defibrillator on the Horseshoe Pass follows an initiative launched last year to install Public Access Defibrillators (PAD) in churches across Wales.

The Welsh Ambulance Service joined forces with the British Heart Foundation and The Church in Wales to make defibrillators available for remote communities across Wales.

St James’ Church in Wick, Vale of Glamorgan, was the first church in Wales to install a PAD on a church building. Defibrillators are also found in train stations, museums and shopping centres, and even down the Big Pit mining museum and on the summit of Snowdon.

The Welsh Ambulance Service works in partnership with other organisations, including Welsh Government, to provide equipment and training on the use of defibrillators under the Public Access Defibrillator Scheme (PADS). So far it has trained more than 5,000 volunteers in the use of AED.

If you are interested in establishing a PADS site or joining an existing team, call the PADS office on 02920 932917.

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