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National award success for borough’s life-saving defibrillator project

07 November 2017

Councillor Janet Emsley, Lisa Kimpton, Sara Harris, Sarah-Jayne Gilligan.

Rochdale Borough Council's life-saving defibrillator project has won national recognition for being 'heart safe' at this year's UK Heart Safe Awards.

The council was awarded the 'Public Sector Organisation of the Year Award' at the sixth annual Hand on Heart UK Heart Safe Awards.

The #RochDefibs project, a partnership scheme with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), was presented with the award because judges were impressed with the number of defibrillators installed in the borough and the extensive social media campaign which included video guides on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use defibrillators.

The project, which launched in November 2015, has seen 25 new defibrillators installed in highly-populated and easily-accessible community venues across the borough, with plans to increase this to 32 in the coming months. Almost 2,000 local people have been trained in CPR and defibrillation techniques, including 13 'train the trainers' who can continue to share these important skills within the community.

'Our ultimate aim is to increase survival rates in our borough'

To date, the project's biggest success is helping to save the life of Allan Turner, 72, who suffered a cardiac arrest at Tunshill Golf Club. The CPR training and a new defibrillator provided by the project helped Geoff Severn, a retired financial advisor and Paul Gratton a printer, save the life of their friend.

Councillor Jacqueline Beswick the council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "This proves that our hard work is having the desired effect. Our ultimate aim is to increase survival rates in our borough from 8.6% to 45% by ensuring more defibrillators are installed across the borough, giving people the confidence they need to help save someone's life before ambulance services arrive. Long may this important work continue."

'I hope that other councils follow in their footsteps'

The Heart Safe Awards are the UK's leading national awards competition to celebrate organisations and employers who invest in creating Heart Safe environments as well as the acts of individuals who have saved lives while at work or leisure. This year's event at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel on Friday, 3 November 2017 was hosted by Key 103 presenter Darren Proctor and saw a live performance from the heart safe Park Road Primary School Choir.

Lesley Groome, fundraising coordinator at Hand on Heart, said: "Many congratulations to Rochdale Borough Council for their achievements and such a successful media campaign. I hope that other councils follow in their footsteps to promote sudden cardiac arrests and defibrillators."

To find out more about the #RochDefibs project, where defibrillators are located in the borough and watch the brief video guides visit defibrillators in the Rochdale borough.
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