Angus villagers have stressed the importance of a lifesaving telephone system following “unacceptable” ambulance delays.
Recent incidents include blue-light medics being driven by car to a 999 mercy dash in East Haven by a local resident after the ambulance got lost.
Paramedics were given a lift after being found wandering about in the village square after getting out to try and find the house on foot.
Residents were forced to step in again following another two recent incidents including guiding an ambulance to the house of a stroke victim.
Locals said the “unacceptable” delays have highlighted the need for the community to become “more resilient” and manage its own emergencies.
The village has so far raised £3,095 of the £5,000 required for a defibrillator, emergency 999 phone and a Village Emergency Telephone System (VETS) following a public appeal which was boosted by a £1,250 donation from Angus Council.
Villager Wendy Murray said the geography of East Haven “creates great difficulties with access” and the defibrillator and Vets scheme will enable the residents “to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies”.
She said: “The ambulance drivers have had great difficulty locating properties and significant delays have occurred as a result.
“One ambulance arrived with blue lights flashing only to turn round and travel back towards Carnoustie before returning to the village to try and find the casualty.
“When the ambulance returned, the paramedics were seen wandering about in the village square so somebody picked them up in their car and took them along to the property.
“On another occasion since then, the paramedics were seen running on foot with all their equipment so again, a resident got their car out to give them a lift.
“There was a third occasion where a resident suffered a stroke and we were aware of the incident and able to open the gates at the field and guide the ambulance across and to the property.
“However, the Vets system would have minimised any delay in providing emergency services to the casualty.”
“There are some very real challenges for the service – however, if communities such as ours are willing to take responsibility for becoming more resilient to support emergency services then we do expect that the service itself will have robust and effective systems in place to ensure a timely and effective response.”
Under the Vets system a user dials 999 and then the Vets number which immediately rings out to 10 designated good samaritans in the village simultaneously.
When one of the designated individuals accepts the emergency call the nine other phones stop ringing.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We are aware of issues accessing some addresses in East Haven and we will continue to work with the local community to establish solutions.
“The Scottish Ambulance Service recognises that communities with the right equipment and skills are the most resilient and can help save lives in the crucial early minutes before an ambulance arrives.
“We welcome the campaign to install a public access defibrillator in East Haven and our community resilience team would be happy to support local residents with Basic Life Support Training.”
He said the service strongly advises that people call 999 for an ambulance in the first instance when a person experiences an out of hospital cardiac arrest.