Blacko houses defibrillator in phone box

Left to right, Andy Holden of NWAS; Sadie Merritt, head girl at Blacko School; Helen Scholey, school secretary; Max Brown, head boy; Coun. John Osborn; Coun. Neil Hodgson, Chairman of Blacko Parish Council; Andrew Stephenson MP; Coun. Noel McEvoy, Pendle Council. (S)
Left to right, Andy Holden of NWAS; Sadie Merritt, head girl at Blacko School; Helen Scholey, school secretary; Max Brown, head boy; Coun. John Osborn; Coun. Neil Hodgson, Chairman of Blacko Parish Council; Andrew Stephenson MP; Coun. Noel McEvoy, Pendle Council. (S)

After almost 12 months of effort by the parish council, Blacko now has its own defibrillator, housed in the former village telephone kiosk.

The kiosk was deemed redundant by BT – who sold it to the council – and a bid to the NHS’s East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group for a grant to cover the purchase was successful.

Blacko Parish Council vice-chairman John Osborn said: “In common with most publicly accessible defibrillators the first action that must be taken in a cardiac emergency is to ring 999 for the Emergency Services and ask for the ambulance service – informing them where the defibrillator kiosk is.

“The operator will then give the caller the code to open the yellow secure case and get the defibrillator out. The technology within the equipment will automatically guide the user step by step with prompts through all the stages needed to use the AED once it is opened.

“The AED itself will decide whether or not a shock should be administered.

“The operator will also arrange for an ambulance to be despatched and a Community First Responder if one is available in the area.

“AEDs are completely safe to use by lay people without training and they cannot cause damage to an individual. Although in an emergency the equipment can be used without training,

The parish council believes basic cardiac awareness has got to be useful and has already given basic training to 35 residents at the Blacko Show and Family Fun Day in September.

Further familiarisation training will be carried out in the future, which will include children from Blacko School.”

The kiosk in its new role was opened by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who is a strong advocate of the initiative across the area.

Blacko appreciates the support and guidance from the North West Ambulance Service, and the generosity of Blacko villagers, Norman and Joan Robinson, for arranging the installation of it.

The opportunity has been taken to open a community book exchange also in the kiosk, which has been very well-received, and the council is most grateful to Ian Belshaw of Gingerbread Picture Framing, who built the shelves for the books.