Edinburgh church installs lifesaving defibrillator as part of £83,000 investment

An Edinburgh church has installed a lifesaving defibrillator on railings outside the building on Slateford Road.

The Presbytery of Edinburgh, working alongside St John Scotland, has invested £83,000 to buy defibrillators that are available for public use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Presbytery of Edinburgh, working alongside St John Scotland, has invested £83,000 to buy defibrillators that are available for public use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The fully automated machine by the pavement at St Michael’s Parish Church is the latest to be installed under a plan between the Presbytery of Edinburgh and St John Scotland, which have invested £83,000 to buy defibrillators that are available for public use at all times.

A total of 26 congregations in the Presbytery of Edinburgh have so far installed the machines which administer a high energy electrical shock designed to return the heart back into a normal rhythm.

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Every year in Scotland around 3,500 people go into cardiac arrest and starting CPR as soon as possible, using a defibrillator where one is available, gives the person the best chance of survival.

Rev Andrea Price, minister of St Michael’s Parish Church, said: “Members of the local community use our halls for a wide variety of activities – musical events, a friendship group and Guild meetings.

“They are mainly elderly people so when we heard that the Presbytery of Edinburgh had this initiative, it was a no brainer

“I was once in a situation when an elder collapsed and sadly died and we had no access to a defibrillator which might have helped.

“The machine is mounted by the pavement outside the church and near bus stops and everyone can access it.”

Mrs Price said someone wanting to use the ‘heart starter’ machine in an emergency should dial 999 and the Scottish Ambulance Service will give them a code to open the heated yellow box.

She added that CPR training will be offered to members of the congregation by St John Scotland once Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Presbytery plans to approach other community and faith groups in areas lacking a defibrillator to provide better coverage across the whole of the city.

Project leader, Rev Michael Mair, said: “This project reaffirms that congregations are at the heart of the communities we serve.

"We are continuing to explore how to best ensure coverage for the whole Presbytery and are engaging with our partners to ensure this life saving equipment is accessible to all.

"We are currently in discussion with New College to see if we can get one mounted on the railings for passing tourists and the General Assembly."

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