An amazing 100 residents in the village Porlock are now qualified to administer CPR and in the use of a defibrillator.
The initiative began as the result of an unusual incident. In the summer of 2016, a resident of Porlock, Denise, attended a funeral, where a member of the congregation had a huge heart attack during the service. It was only thanks to the prompt response of three nurses sitting behind him, who recognised what was happening, and who, after considerable effort, managed to restart his heart, that his life was saved.
Despite the fact that it was in the middle of the day, in a town (Minehead), it took 25 minutes for the first responders to appear and 45 minutes for the paramedics and an ambulance to arrive at the scene.
Porlock has the greatest density of elderly people in the country and Denise, realising the importance of a quick response for saving lives, set about organising the fundraising needed to provide the village with a defibrillator and organise user training.
A series of Community Soup Days and generous donations from local organisations and individuals rapidly raised over £6,000 – enough for not one but two defibrillator, as well as training for 100 people.
The first defibrillator, which went live this week, is sited on the side wall of Abbeyfield. The second will be ordered very soon and sited at Porlock Weir.
Denise said, “We hope that by spreading the word we may be able to encourage other communities to follow suit. Many places now have defibrillators but I’m not sure how many people are confident in their use, or appreciate the importance of prompt CPR in conjunction with the kit. There is a 5% chance of survival without intervention and a 50% chance with CPR AND a defibrillator, and the chances of survival fall by 10% for every minute that passes.”
An advisory notice on behalf of the South West Ambulance Service is on the wall next to the Abbeyfield cabinet. Full instructions are available in the cabinet along with the defibrillator. There will be some more signs put up around the village to ensure visitors are also aware of its existence and location.
The enormous support given by Dr Ed Ford, a local GP and West Somerset trauma doctor, enabled monthly training sessions to take place. Training is not essential in enabling anyone to use a defibrillator, but, having been trained, participants are confident to use it in order to save a life. Many of them have taken part, including pub owners, shopkeepers, the local vicar and even the village undertaker.
Everyone knows about the problems the NHS is currently facing and there is a need for communities to take more responsibility for their residents. Porlock has shown what can be done to support themselves at this time.
The official launch of the defibrillator will take place on Tuesday 31 Jan at 2pm at Abbeyfield in Porlock. Everyone is welcome.
The very popular Community Soup Days have been phenomenally successful, and have really helped to bring the community together. They are continuing, on a monthly basis, with any further funds being raised going to raising money for floral displays around the village.
TOP: A training session in progress. Photo by Maureen Harvey