As part of the volunteering section for his silver award, 16-year-old Matthew Hoyle has been taught to carry out basic checks on the publically available defibrillators in and around Rainford and ensure they’re “Rescue Ready”.
This requires checking the presence and security of the devices and that there’s no damage to the cabinet. He also checks that any ancillary equipment such as gloves and scissors are present. It is also necessary to check that the internal cabinet heater is operating during the winter months. He records the expiry date of the electrode pads (including the paediatric pads supplied in certain cabinets). Finally, he checks that the device’s battery is charged and that the pads and connected correctly.
The checks are then logged with the Community First Responders and directly with the North West Ambulance Service site. All this works prevents 999 callers from being directed to unavailable devices in time-critical situations.
Matthew says, “Over the last couple of months of checking the defibs, I have found two issues. The first was a surprise to find the defibrillator at the ‘Bottle and Glass’ pub missing from the cabinet. It turned out that the defibrillator had been taken to an emergency earlier in the day. My check enabled the process of locating and returning the defibrillator to service quicker than it might have otherwise been. The second issue I have recently encountered is that scaffolding has been erected around the Village Hall, leaving that defibrillator inaccessible. This unit has been taken offline, so the ambulance service will not send anyone to use this defibrillator in an emergency”.#
Involvement with the Rainford Community First Responder scheme runs in the family! Matthew’s father’s uncle had undertaken the checking of units until his retirement at the end of September. Since then, Matthew’s father (Stephen) has assisted his son with transport between the various sites.
Stephen Hoyle says, “As a family, we are very aware of the risks of cardiac arrest, as, unfortunately, we’ve had two close family members pass away as a result. It is a fantastic achievement by Rainford First Responders to have encouraged fundraising to place so many defibs in the local area. Having these facilities close to hand is a massive benefit to the community. We are very pleased to be able to support Matthew in contributing to this fantastic community resource”.