LIFE-SAVING defibrillators are to be installed on the trams as part of a fresh drive to make the heart-start machines easier to access for the public.
From today onwards the devices will be found on all 17 of the Capital’s trams after local businesses teamed up with charity St John Scotland bring more defibrillators to the city.
But the devices aren’t just for those who fall ill in transit and will also be available for members of the public to use if someone is taken ill in the vicinity of a tram stop.
The rollout comes as part of the St John and the City defibrillator project, which will also see tram drivers and conductors trained in how to use them in a medical emergency.
Funds for the devices, which cost the charity around £1000 each, were donated by a number of Edinburgh businesses, in addition to cash raised at St John Scotland’s Edinburgh fundraising events.
Lynn Cleal, chair of the St John Scotland Edinburgh fundraising committee, said the defibrillators would provide a “lifeline” for people across the city.
She said: “We are committed to making the defibrillators more accessible to all members of the public.
“You really don’t need to be taught how to use it but we do suggest people look into it just to give them confidence.
“I’m over the moon to see it happening. It’s going to make a huge difference.”
The defibrillators will be placed in the middle in the area of each tram where space is set aside for disabled passengers.
There are also panic buttons at each tram stop for members of the public to use if someone has a cardiac arrest on a nearby street.
Pushing the button will put you through to a 24-hour helpline, whose operators will be able to call emergency services to the scene, as well as getting the nearest tram to stop so its defibrillator can be used.
Edinburgh became the first local authority in Scotland to equip all of its high schools with life-saving defibrillators thanks to an Evening News campaign.
The ‘Shockingly Easy’ campaign saw the News team up with the Jamie Skinner Foundation, a charity set up after the sudden death of 13-year-old footballer Jamie Skinner.
Sonia McCraw, chair of the charity, said it was “fantastic” to hear the devices would be easier for people to access on some of the city’s busiest streets.
She said: “I think it will give a lot of people peace of mind.
“People just need to be more aware that you don’t have to be a certain age for something to happen. It can happen to absolutely anybody.”
The rollout will be launched today at the Gogar tram depot by Lord Provost Donald Wilson, who said: “The machines we install will save lives going forward. I can think of no better gift to the city this Valentine’s Day and I thank all of the donors for their support.”
An Edinburgh Trams spokesman said: “We are wholeheartedly behind this initiative by St John Scotland, which has the potential to save many lives.
“We’re delighted to be playing such a central part in their plans to roll out defibrillators across the city.”
Businesses which donated funds for the defibrillators include Royal Bank of Scotland, Virgin Money, Montague Evans, Charlie Miller, GLM, Phillips and Laerdal and Newtyne Consultancy and Training.
St John Scotland also teamed up with CPR charity Save A Life Scotland for the porject.
Lisa MacInnes, national programme manager at Save A Life Scotland, said: “We’re really proud to have St John Scotland partnering with us to highlight the importance of learning CPR as part of Save a Life for Scotland and, with the tram project, enabling people in Edinburgh to use a defibrillator.
“When someone collapses from a cardiac arrest every second really counts. Lives are being lost each week but it doesn’t need to be that way.
“By learning CPR, being ready to step up and do it and not being afraid to use a defibrillator, more people will survive.”
For more information, visit www.savealife.scot.
‘Put defibrillators in primary schools’
DEFIBRILLATORS should be installed at all primary schools in Scotland, an MSP has said.
The call comes from Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton after new figures revealed only one of Edinburgh’s 88 primary schools, Juniper Green, had such a device on its grounds.
Mr Cole-Hamilton praised Edinburgh for having defibrillators in all its high schools, but added it was “vitally important” they were also put in primaries.
Use of a defibrillator within three to five minutes of an attack can increase survival rates by up to 75 per cent.
A spokesman for the city council said it was one of the few local authorities to have ensured all high schools have the devices, adding their focus had been on “prioritising schools and other buildings where there is maximum public use”.