Colne’s Asda joins forces with North West Ambulance Service

SAVING LIVES: North West Ambulance Service's community resuscitation manager Dave McNally (s)
SAVING LIVES: North West Ambulance Service's community resuscitation manager Dave McNally (s)

SHOPPERS who suffer from cardiac arrests or other heart-related problems in public places will now receive immediate help from staff at Colne’s Asda.

The supermarket, in Corporation Street, has become one of 39 North-West based Asda stores to join forces with the North West Ambulance Service to trial Automated External Defibrillator’s in store. Asda is the first supermarket chain in the UK to adopt AEDs.

Defibrillators deliver an electric shock through the chest cavity, and attempt to restore a regular rhythm to the heart’s beat.

The machines installed by NWAS output audio instructions for the user while monitoring the patient, and are for the exclusive use of treating cardiac arrests only.

AEDs also internally self-test, provide a clear indication with a green or red light whether there is any fault and hosts are fully trained on the daily checking procedures.

Members of the community resuscitation team at NWAS have already visited the store to conduct AED familiarisation sessions with its colleagues.

Mary Whyman, chairman of NWAS, said: “AEDs save lives.

“The Resuscitation Council UK strongly recommends the implementation of early defibrillation in cardiac arrests and through widespread deployment of AEDs we can help to reduce mortality rates from cardiac arrests.

“This is an extremely positive step taken by Asda Colne and we welcome its partnership.”

And Karen Knowles, store manager at Asda Colne, added: “Supermarkets get thousands of people through their doors each week and like any other public place there can be rare occurrences of cardiac arrests.

“We’re pleased we can help make a difference by putting a defibrillator in our store so colleagues, communities and emergency services have access to this life saving equipment.

“The North West Ambulance Service has responded to around 2,000 call outs at Asda stores in the region in the past 12 months so we have seen the amazing work they do first hand.

“We felt it was important to support the North West Ambulance Service however we could and protect the health of our customers.”

On average, around 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrests in public every year. From October 2011 to September 2012, NWAS received approximately 45 emergency 999 calls related to cardiac/respiratory arrest in Colne.

NWAS works with the British Heart Foundation and Chain of Survival Partnership to deliver basic life support training and skills to the public.

The main aim of NWAS’ Community Resuscitation Team is to install defibrillators throughout communities in places of public access, so that there is a blanket coverage of life-saving equipment across the North-West.

Defibrillators can give victims an 80% chance of survival if used in the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest, and the chances drop by 10% for every minute after.

David McNally, community resuscitation development manager, said: “NWAS is delighted to be providing the AEDs and delivering the training to Asda.

“In the event of a person suffering cardiac arrest, quick action can be taken to give the patient the best chance of survival. “It is proven that in every minute that passes without intervention, the chances of survival deceases by 14%. Effective CPR and defibrillation ensures the patient has the best chance of survival.”