Rotary Washington Forge Club relaunches post-pandemic mission to install defibrillators in every district

Washington's Rotary club is to relaunch its mission to install at least one defibrillator in every one of the town’s districts and is asking for the community’s help.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 12:12 pm
Rotary Washington Forge secretary Phil Hopps with a certificate of appreciation for the club's role in installing defibrillators in the town.

The Rotary Washington Forge Club initially planned to install the vital life-saving equipment in all five of the town’s wards but has now raised its post-pandemic target to ensure defibrillator coverage in all 18 districts.

Three defibrillators installed by the charity - the latest being at the Stella pub in Albany - had already been fitted before the pandemic once again took hold and curtailed the campaign. Other devices have also been fitted at Donwell Care Home and Blackfell Premier Store.

Club secretary Phil Hopps, 65, said: “We want to ensure there's at least one defibrillator in every district in the town with our next location being in Springwell Village.

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A defibrillator being installed at the Stella pub. (left to right) Ronnie Monaghan (past president), Frank Reay representing the Stella pub and former Washington West Ward councillor Bernie Scaplehorn.

"There are currently a total of 11 devices in Washington and we would like to raise money to install another 10.

“Unfortunately Covid stopped our fund-raising activities but we are now looking to relaunch the project to cover more locations."

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According to the British Heart Foundation there are over 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year.

Figures from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) show a patient’s chance of survival after a cardiac arrest falls by around seven to ten percent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed.

Studies have shown that a shock given within three to five minutes can produce survival rates of between 50 and 70 per cent.

The value of having a defibrillator close at hand was brought into sharp focus this summer during the Euro 2020 tournament when the equipment was used to save the life of Danish footballer and former Spurs midfielder, Christian Eriksen, after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

Phil added: “This is such a vital piece of equipment. A defibrillator was recently installed at the Cross Keys pub in Washington Village and has been used seven times this year.

“There's one at Washington Cricket Club which I know has also been used. The incident with Christian Eriksen shows just how important they can be.”

With the cost of each defibrillator retailing at £1,500, the club is looking to raise £15,000.

Phil said: “We would like the community to become involved in helping to raise money to cover the cost of a defibrillator in their village.

“We are looking for local people and businesses to come forward with fundraising ideas and donations.

“In the past we've also had electricians volunteer to fit them for free.”

A defibrillator works by providing a high-energy electric shock to return the heart to its normal rhythm.

In addition to installing the devices, the club also provided training sessions on how they should be used.

In 2019, before the campaign started, there were only two publicly available defibrillators in the town.

Anyone who wishes to donate or can help the campaign is urged to contact the club via their Facebook page or by emailing [email protected]

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