The Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge - Makes Sowerby Bridge "A heart safe town" to live and visit.

The Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge have made a phenomenal achievement by installing five Automated External Defibrillator (AEDs) in less than twelve months making Sowerby Bridge a "Heart Safe Town” according to Yorkshire Ambulance Service Community Defibrillation Office John Spikings.

The Club have raised over £9.000 since starting their Defibrillator project in November 2014 with their Tree of Lights/Defibrillator appeal, the money raised has been through public donations , local organisations, businesses and grants from Rotary District 1040, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council and Asda. Three of the defibrillators are located on the main thoroughfare of Sowerby Bridge, another in Ripponden with the fifth fitted at Sowerby Bridge Railway station.

The sixth defibrillator will be soon be fitted in Sowerby Bridge so that we have coverage at both ends of the town. The AEDs we have fitted are easy to use, compact, portable and very effective. They are de-signed to be used by laypersons; the machine guides the operator through the process by verbal instruction and visual prompts. They are safe and will not shock unless the machine detects that it is necessary to do so. Throughout the project we have worked alongside Yorkshire Ambulace Service who provide a free familiarisation session to the general public once the defibrillator is installed in its cabinet.

The cabinets have a keypad code which is provided by the Ambulance Service should the need arise. Community Defibrillation Officer John Spikings states that the Rotary club of Sowerby Bridge have made a phenomenal achievement in placing five Defibrillators in the community making Sowerby Bridge a “Heart Safe Town” Dr Andy Lockey, A&E Consultant (Calderdale Royal Hospital) and Honorary Secretary of Resuscitation Council (UK) states “The Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge are to be commended for this initiative which will undoubtedly lead to lives being saved. We need to boost awareness of defibrillators - they are 100% safe to use, cause no harm, and can save lives

Dr Lockey continues to point out the British Heart Foundation campaign which is supporting a Private members bill to get First Aid taught in schools Rotarian Hazel Brindle, Project Co-ordinator states that when we first started the project, we had concerns about raising sufficient funds for one defibrillator let alone six. But our local community took the project under their wing and have been so generous and supportive. The project is very meaningful to me as my nephew, father of three children collapsed and died playing football just a few weeks before Christmas 2013 Getting some of the defibrillators in place has been quite a journey as Sowerby Bridge main thoroughfare does not have a lot of wall space and what little is available the stonework is decorative, we then encountered another additional problem, Sowerby Bridge has a lot of Grade 11 listed buildings - that meant applying for Planning Permission, but Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council were extremely helpful. We have reached the stage now were we are being asked for advice and help from local schools and other Rotary Clubs.

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