Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 5, 2018

A Life Saved

A former councillor whose life was saved after he collapsed during a council meeting has given his backing to a new campaign encouraging people to sign up for CPR training and how to use a defibrillator. Tony Jones , the former Lancashire county councillor for Morecambe North, says he would have died without first aid being given to him when he suffered a cardiac arrest in the council chamber at County Hall.

He was saved by fellow councillor John Fillis , a trained nurse, BBC Radio Lancashire’s political reporter Mike Stevens and county council facilities manager Matt Dean. Now he is encouraging people to sign up for life saving training courses which could help other people who suffer from a cardiac arrest. Sessions are set to be held in Preston, Blackburn, Blackpool, Lancaster, Chorley, Morecambe and Burnley over a month long period starting on Monday, April 16.

Lancashire Lifesavers, a joint campaign with BBC Radio Lancashire, the North West Ambulance Service and Lancashire County Council, aims to train 2,500 people across the county to perform CPR.

Mr Jones, who is recovering well after undergoing heart surgery, said “I am incredibly grateful to John, Mike and Matt, and everyone else who helped me that day. Without them I would not be here today. That is the reason I am backing this new joint campaign as it will mean that hundreds of people will gain vital lifesaving skills. You never know when you might need to help someone who becomes ill – or you need someone else’s help.”

The campaign is the brainchild of Mr Stevens, who said he had only had first aid training one week prior to the incident. “This is all about equipping people right across Lancashire with the knowledge and confidence to cope in a life-threatening situation. The sessions are a great opportunity for members of the public to gain skills – for free – which might one day be used to save the life of a loved one.”

Coun Fillis said “This campaign is a great idea and something I fully support. When Tony collapsed I realised that something was seriously wrong. I just reacted in line with my training. The most important thing is to act quickly as just a few minutes can make all the difference. These free training sessions will ensure more people are confident to help if someone is taken ill in the future”.

Mr Dean had been watching a webcast of the council meeting when he realised something was wrong and people were calling for an ambulance. He raced through County Hall, picking up a defibrillator on his way, before doing CPR. He said “I am really pleased that I had first aid training and was able to put it to good use. When I was doing the CPR everything I knew just clicked into place. The guilt of not doing anything would have been terrible. It was really good to see Tony today looking so good.”

Cheryl Pickstock , Paramedic and Chain of Survival Lead for NWAS, helped to install the defibrillators at County Hall and will be leading the training sessions. She said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for the people of Lancashire to learn the simple skills they need to help save a life in the event of a cardiac arrest and we urge as many people as possible to sign up. It takes less than an hour and could just save a life! The chance of survival for someone who has a cardiac arrest is reduced by 10% for every minute without CPR and defibrillation so it’s vital that people in the community know what to do and can start life-saving work even before we’re able to get there. If somebody suddenly collapses, check their breathing and dial 999 as soon as possible. Our emergency medical dispatcher will give you all the instructions you need, they’ll let you know if there is a defibrillator nearby and how to access it”.

Lancashire County Council has already announced it is investing £30,000 in lifesaving equipment, which will be installed across the county. This funding is being handed to the North West Ambulance Service, who will buy 40 defibrillators and install them at a range of community venues over the next six months. The ambulance service will work with local people to choose community venues for the defibrillators.

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