The president of a group installing defibrillators across Ripon has urged communities to back a life-saving campaign by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS).
There are now 2,400 defibrillators across Yorkshire, but the YAS knows there are many more which have not been officially registered with them despite the best of intentions - which could mean the difference between life and death.
All of the 11 defibrillators in Ripon have been registered, and Alec Lutton, who has been a major driving force behind their installation, is now supporting the YAS’s project encouraging people to take selfies with defibrillators while they are out and about.
The campaign calls for spotters to share the exact location of a defibrillator on social media using the hashtag #YASDefibHunt so that they can then be registered.
Staff in the Emergency Operations Centre can then direct 999 callers to these defibrillators in the event of a patient suffering a cardiac arrest nearby.
Mr Lutton said: “Even if it saves just one life it is worth it. If there is a defibrillator and someone just a bit further down the road from it goes into cardiac arrest, and the ambulance service doesn’t know about it, and they don’t, it could mean the difference between life and death.
“If it was registered, they could get help as soon as possible. It’s all about time - time is critical, it can save lives.
“It’s also about awareness, and people being trained to know what to do. If you have four people walking down the road and one person goes into cardiac arrest, and it’s the person on the floor who knows CPR, what are the other people going to do?
“It would be really good to see as many people as possible attending CPR training courses, from across all age groups. I think sometimes young people think it would never happen to them, but it can happen to anyone.”
So far Ripon has defibrillators in locations including Ripon Rugby Club, Ripon Bowling Club, and Ripon Grammar School.
Head of Community Resilience for YAS, Paul Stevens, said: “We need to make sure that every single defibrillator that is purchased across the county is registered with Yorkshire Ambulance Service so we can ensure they are put to good use in the event of a cardiac arrest. So we would urge members of the public to support our YAS Defib Hunt which will ultimately help us to save more lives.”