Balsall Common store owners working with community to save lives

Pictured [left to right]: Alice Hawkins (Fast Aid); Andy Jeynes (West MIds Ambulance); Kishore Sharma (BC Pharmacy); Dave Felthouse (Residents Assoc & Bugle Magazine); Helen Magee (BC Pharmacy); Jeff Way (Fast Aid)
Balsall Common Pharmacy delivered yet again on its’ promise to involve itself in local community, health and education by agreeing to house a life-saving defibrillator unit for use by local emergency first-responders.   And now that it’s in place the Balsall Common Residents Association is working with volunteer services to provide and promote training in the community on how to use the equipment.


There is approximately 150,000 deaths in the UK from cardiac arrest in the UK and survival can be heavily dictated by the speed at which initial treatment is delivered to victims, all of which makes Balsall Common a higher-risk area, sitting as it does, on the cusp of the areas covered by local emergency services. Jeffrey Way, an Area Co-ordinator for emergency first responder scheme Fast Aid picks up the explanation:


“Balsall Common is right on the edge of the areas covered by Solihull and Coventry Ambulance Stations and because of this it can take a long time for an Ambulance to arrive at an emergency. The problem is that figures suggest irreversible brain damage usually occurs within 4 minutes of an untreated attack, followed by death within 6-8 minutes.”


All of which makes the presence of volunteer first responders and life-saving equipment vital to the cause of reducing emergency response times.


The cabinet installed at Balsall Common Pharmacy contains a Cardiac Science G4 Automated External Defribilator (AED), a machine that is easy to use when applied in conjunction with life-saving CPR on a patient caught in the grip of cardiac arrest. The cabinet is registered with the local ambulance service and to deploy the equipment the volunteer responder need to request a lock code from Ambulance Control when registering their 999 emergency call, whom will then also guide them through the CPR process.


One of the greatest features of the Public Access Defibrilator is that it can be operated by untrained members of the public. The kit has been specifically designed to walk the user through what to do with someone suffering cardiac arrest, in conjunction with the Ambulance Dispatcher talking them through the process on the phone. However training is always invaluable and as part of the introduction of this life-saving apparatus to the village Fast Aid is providing free training in Basic Life Support (BLS) including CPR and the use of a defibrillator (AED). Training sessions are taking place at Balsall Common Village Hall on Wednesday 3rd July and Friday 12th July, at 7:30pm and all residents are invited to indicate an interest in attending by emailing or by calling Keith Tindall on 01676 534488. Advanced notice is not essential, it is possible to turn up unannounced, although organisers would prefer an idea of numbers beforehand.