Tesco to equip Edinburgh stores with defibrillators

Seven of Edinburgh's Tesco stores will be equipped with defibrillators. File picture: Esme Allen
Seven of Edinburgh's Tesco stores will be equipped with defibrillators. File picture: Esme Allen
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A SUPERMARKET giant will safeguard the future of millions of shoppers by equipping more than 900 of its largest stores with life-saving defibrillators.

Tesco announced plans to buy the heart-start machines for seven major shops in the Capital, including the superstores in Leith, Broughton Road, Colinton and Hermiston Gait.

The vital kit can mean the difference between life and death as with every passing minute without CPR and defibrillation, a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest falls by ten per cent.

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The Evening News teamed up with the Jamie Skinner Foundation in 2014 to campaign for better defibrillator provision in Lothian, in memory of 13-year-old Jamie, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while playing football.

Tony Hoggett, Tesco UK’s chief operating officer, said: “We are always looking for ways to help the communities we serve, and we know that having a defibrillator to hand can mean saving the life of someone suffering a cardiac arrest.

“This initiative has the potential to make a real difference to customers and colleagues all over the country.”

Around 730 Tesco Extra and superstores all over the UK will be fitted with defibrillators as part of the initiative, and the retailer also plans to install the equipment in all of its 178 Metro stores over the coming months.

Sara Askew, head of survival at the British Heart Foundation, said: “If you have a cardiac arrest in the UK today you have just a one in ten chance of survival.

“More people could be saved if more people had the skills and confidence to perform CPR and more defibrillators were available and accessible in public places.

“We are delighted that Tesco is supporting BHF’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign by making public access defibrillators available in all its larger stores.

“Knowing vital CPR skills and having access to a defibrillator can often be the difference between life and death.”

Through the Shockingly Easy campaign, the award-winning Jamie Skinner Foundation has raised more than £40,000 to install the life-saving defibrillators in sports clubs all over Lothian.

More than 75 extra devices were installed in Lothian last year, since the campaign’s launch.

Jamie’s cousin Karen Greechan, 45, hailed the decision to equip stores with defibrillators.

Karen, who is secretary of the Jamie Skinner Foundation, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant news.

“I remember going into Tesco and asking the staff where their defibrillator was and they said they didn’t know.

“It’s so important to have and the fact that these big stores will have them is great.”

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com