Comment: Defibrillators can save lives

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Every football club in the East of Scotland League is to have a defibrillator installed as a result of an £18,000 grant from the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP).

The news is a huge boost to the Shockingly Easy campaign run in partnership between the Edinburgh Evening News and the Jamie Skinner Foundation.

Jamie Skinner was just 13 when he collapsed and died at Saughton Sports Centre after suffering a cardiac arrest during his first game for Tynecastle FC. A defibrillator was on site but not used.

Since then his family has campaigned, together with this newspaper, for every sports club in the Lothians to have a defibrillator on the premises. Bowls, tennis, rugby and football clubs are among those who have raised money for the life-saving equipment.

Jamie’s death is a reminder that heart attacks are not something that happen only to the older generation. And when they strike, time is vital.

Every minute it takes before a defibrillator is used, the chances of success decrease by ten per cent. To have a 50-50 chance of survival, you have five minutes to get the defibrillator on.

So, a machine on site is essential.

Public buildings are required by law to have a fire extinguisher, which is sensible, as around 350 people die in fires in the UK every year. Yet the UK Resuscitation Council says 30,000 people a year have cardiac arrests outside hospital, Many more could be saved if they were close to a defibrillator.

The SFP grant will see the heart-start machines and training put in place in all 16 clubs in the East of Scotland League. As League chairman Tom Allison said: “If you save one person’s life, it’s worth every penny.”

However, there is much more that can be done. Any small sports club throughout the Lothians should consider a defibrillator. You owe it your members, and guests, to be prepared. With grants and training available there’s never been a better time to save a life.