A first aid trainer is urging families in rural Perthshire communities to check where their nearest defibrillators are so they can provide CPR in an emergency.
Janice Webster, chair of St John Scotland’s Perth and Kinross committee, says awareness around the importance of first aid has grown following the high profile case of cardiac arrest in Danish footballer Christian Eriksen.
Volunteers have teamed up with Save a Life for Scotland which aims to train at least one million people by 2026.
That includes every schoolchild in Scotland.
But accessing a defibrillator in rural Perthshire and Kinross can be difficult.
The group have recently helped set up defibrillators in locations such as Logiealmond and Glenalmond following the sudden death of a local dad.
There is also a higher risk of excessive waiting times for emergency services so being first aid trained can be the “difference between life and death”.
That’s why St John Scotland is helping these communities become first aid trained by helping to support defibrillator installations and providing vital CPR training.
Janice said: “Doing CPR is absolutely vital and it could be the difference between life and death.
“In rural areas it can be quite some time before an ambulance arrives so having a defibrillator in the community gives people confidence that if something did happen, there’s something there that can quickly help.”
Demand for first aid training
Parents, grandparents and children are extremely keen to learn the lifesaving skills.
The demand has grown as more defibrillators become available across communities and St John has a waiting list of those hoping to learn the skills once training resumes.
Janice said: “By 2026, the idea is that all schoolchildren will know how to do first aid.
“Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone of any age so people are really eager to learn and the more defibrillators there are in the community, the more demand there is for training.
“Those who can’t do CPR themselves still have the skills to talk people through how to do it so it can be really important for young people to learn.”
Janice wants to see all schoolchildren trained in the lifesaving skills as soon as possible in case a family member or friend suffers cardiac arrest.
“A child of five can save a life with the right training. If the next generation does it as a matter of course without having to think about it then more lives will be saved.”