Life saving equipment for every Edinburgh parish

Ambitious plans have been approved to ensure that life saving equipment is installed in every Church of Scotland parish in Edinburgh.

The Presbytery of Edinburgh is investing £83,000 to buy 49 fully-automated defibrillators for the outside of buildings.

They will be available for public use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rev Michael Mair
Rev Michael Mair and Lynn Cleal, chair of St John Scotland's Edinburgh committee who is responsible for the defibrillator project.

Fifteen heated cabinets to house existing machines currently kept inside churches will also be purchased.

Project leader, Rev Michael Mair, said he is "delighted" that the "life transforming" project is going ahead.

"This is a clear sign and symbol that the Church continues to fulfil the example and lead of Jesus as he offered to give life, and life in all its fullness,” added the minister of St David's Broomhouse Church.

Every year in Scotland 3,500 people go into cardiac arrest.

Starting CPR as soon as possible, and using a defibrillator where one is available, gives the person the best chance of survival.

Life saving

A defibrillator works by administering a high energy electrical shock designed to return the heart back into a normal rhythm and can massively improve the chances of recovery.

The Church is working with charity St John Scotland which currently has around 130 defibrillators in Edinburgh and is working with communities across Scotland to increase access to the life-saving devices.

As part of the program, congregations and local communities will receive free training from St John Scotland volunteers in CPR and how to use the new equipment.

However, the defibrillators are designed so that in an emergency they can used by anyone, even if they have not had formal training.

Each machine will be added to a central database that provides the Scottish Ambulance Service with the nearest location.

Heart of the community

Rev Angus Mathieson, moderator of the Presbytery of Edinburgh said: "This is a great project for the Church to be involved in.

"It’s about mission, being at the heart of the community and showing that the whole community matters.

"The presbytery is excited to be working with different partners to ensure a wider coverage for public access defibrillators.

"We have congregations in the presbytery which already have defibrillators installed and we want to learn from their experiences.

"Statistics show the difference that accessible defibrillators can make.

"This allows us to show in a practical way, that the Church’s witness includes and goes beyond what happens in our buildings and that we can make a difference in life or death situations."

Public awareness

Volunteer Lynn Cleal, who leads the St John and the City defibrillator project on behalf of St John Scotland, said: "From our work helping provide defibrillators across Edinburgh, we know how important these machines, and the public awareness that comes with them, is in helping to save lives.

“We're delighted to support the Church of Scotland with this project to help reach more people across Edinburgh with life saving equipment and knowledge."