Harrowing scenes from Euro 2020 have driven home the importance of people being able to provide life-saving medical treatment.
Football fans watched on in horror as Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapsed during Saturday night’s game against Finland.
Medics rushed onto the pitch and performed heart massage on the stricken player before applying a defibrillator to the 29-year-old, who had suffered a cardiac arrest.
To the relief of everyone watching, he survived, describing himself as “fine – under the circumstances” in a social media message on Tuesday.
Castle Douglas and Crocketford councillor Iain Howie has been championing the provision of public access defibrillators for many years and the ability to give basic treatment of a cardiac arrest – CPR and early defibrillation.
Mr Howie, who is also chairman of Stewartry Community Safety Forum, said: “Almost everyone has the ability to save the life of a cardiac arrest victim by following these basic steps.
“First, check if the victim is breathing. If not, it is essential that the ambulance service is contacted immediately even if that means leaving the victim unattended. Once this is done, you need to carryout chest compression CPR, until a defibrillator is made available.
“When it arrives you simply switch it on and follow the verbal instructions. It’s important to appreciate that a defibrillator will only shock an individual who is having a cardiac arrest and without that shock they will almost certainly die.”
Iain has delivered defibrillator training to a large number of communities over the years and is keen to resume when conditions allow.
Meanwhile, Loch Ken Trust is working to improve access to defibrillators around the beauty spot.
Officer Barney Fryer said: “Loch Ken Trust is leading a project to look at cardiac health and wellbeing.
“Working with the council, NHS Scotland and community partners, we have secured almost £9,000 of funding from the National Lottery Awards for All fund.
“This money will be used to expand the network of public access defibrillators in the Loch Ken area and to deliver sessions on promoting cardiac health, together with training on using the defibrillators.
“The trust is working with communities from Carsphairn through to Glenlochar down both sides of Loch Ken.
“Essentially, we are installing lifesaving technology, but also working with the community to try and ensure that they don’t ever need to use it.”