CALA Homes deck out Lothian housing with defibrillators

Site Manger Francis Cassidy presents the defib to Allan Murray Vice Chair of Currie Community council
. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Site Manger Francis Cassidy presents the defib to Allan Murray Vice Chair of Currie Community council . Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A BIG-HEARTED housebuilder has ensured the safety of hundreds of residents by snapping up life-saving defibrillators for developments and offices across Lothian.

Business chiefs at CALA Homes decided to equip all of its head offices and housing with the devices, which can re-start a heart when someone suffers a cardiac arrest.

Defibrillators have now been installed at the firm’s headquarters in Sighthill, as well as at six developments in the city and one in North Berwick, with an estimated price tag of more than £20,000.

It follows a long-running campaign by the Evening News and the Jamie Skinner Foundation to improve defibrillator provision in Lothian, in memory of popular teenage footballer Jamie Skinner.

The talented 13-year-old suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while making his debut for Tynecastle FC in December 2013.

CALA health and safety boss Stuart Hosegood said the devices offer “the best chance of survival” for anyone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, where an electrical fault causes the heart to stop beating.

Their chance of making a meaningful recovery diminishes quickly unless bystanders perform CPR and a defibrillator is used to shock the heart within five minutes.

Mr Hosegood said: “Health and safety is of paramount importance at CALA and the installation of defibrillators on all active sites is yet another step towards ensuring the health and wellbeing of our employees and contractors.

“Having access to lifesaving equipment in the workplace is extremely important.

“To give a person who has suffered a sudden cardiac arrest the best chance of survival, the defibrillator must be administered within 3-5 minutes following collapse, making it imperative to have a defibrillator on site.”

More than 150 heart-start machines have been installed across Lothian since the Shockingly Easy campaign was launched in 2014, with donations soaring to more than £60,000.

The drive prompted city chiefs to install defibrillators in every high school in the Capital.

Sonia McCraw, JSF chief executive, said: “I think it’s great news that these developments have defibrillators.

“It’s really important that people and businesses are picking up on the fact that they need defibrillators.

“I hope they never have to use it but it is great it is there.”

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com