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Dian of Dianward Hairdressing, and Anne Sibbald of Edinburgh Footcare Clinic in Carrick Knowe, have been in touch with The Edinburgh Reporter about the new defibrillator that has been installed at Scotmid on Saughton Road North.

Both of them have their own stories about learning about the importance of the lifesaving equipment. Anne is a podiatrist and has to do CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training every year.

Steven Murray explaining how to use the defibrillator Photo: Martin P. McAdam

She became aware during her training that many more people survive if there is also a defibrillator.

She explained : “I slowly got to know that CPR alone wasn’t really keeping people alive. In fact you only have a 1% chance of survival with CPR alone. If you’ve got a defibrillator available that goes up to about 90% if you get there quickly. It goes down as the time passes but anyone having a cardiac arrest has a far better survival rate if a defib is available.

“I thought it would be a good thing to have one available for the businesses in Carrick Knowe and I knew that this was something that Scotmid have done. The Scotmid in Portobello had one which was used on a young man who collapsed on a nearby building site. The nurse who attended him knew there was a defibrillator in the Scotmid in Portobello and they got it to treat him.

The eleven businesses on both sides of the road contributed towards the casing, and Scotmid donated the defibrillator itself.

Anne Sibbald of Edinburgh Footcare Clinic and Dian Ward of DianWard Hairdressing Photo: Martin P. McAdam

A Scotmid spokesperson said: “As a community retailer, Scotmid were proud to be able to provide a defib and install it at our Carrick Knowe store, thus making it available for everyone in the local community to access 24/7.

“Seeing all the local businesses cooperate together and raise funds to purchase a cabinet has been excellent. It has been rewarding to see such a worthwhile project come to life which will ultimately save people’s lives.”

The local business owners and staff prepare for training on the use of the new Carrick Knowe defibrillator. Photo: Martin P. McAdam

Steven Murray of The Training Consultancy gave up his time to instruct around 25 people on Wednesday night to ensure that as many as possible know how the equipment works. Anne explained : “It’s one thing having the machine, but it is something else being able to actually use it and not be frightened of it.”

Ten months ago Alan Smith (62) from Barnton was at a spinning class at David Lloyd when he suddenly had to sit down as he felt a rush of blood to his head.

Next thing he knew he was looking up at anxious faces, had two broken ribs and could hear a strange buzzing noise beside him. This was the defibrillator which was telling the David Lloyd staff what to do. Alan explained that not only does it give instructions as to what to do, it keeps a record of what happened.

Alan said : “The girl behind me at the spinning class was a midwife and she started CPR on me. Then the team from the gym arrived with the defibrillator and immediately followed the instructions it gave. They shocked me twice while everyone else was taken out of the class.

“I didn’t know much about this of course, but I woke up and was talking quite quickly, which is apparently unusual.”

Steven Murray from The Training Consultancy with Anne Sibbald, Kirsty Connell from Scotmid, Dian Ward and Emma Richards the local Scotmid Store Manager. Photo: Martin P. McAdam

Alan explained to us that David Lloyd train their staff with the defibrillator in their premises once a month, and he is glad that they were so well able to use it and save his life.

Dian of DianWard Hairdressing told us : “Alan has been a client for years. They are such a lovely family, him and his wife. I was so shocked when I heard about him because they are never out of the gym. I got such a fright that this had happened to people who are so fit.

“So when Anne spoke to me about the possibility of getting a defibrillator here I was immediately keen to help out. I definitely wanted to be involved so we got all the shopkeepers to make a contribution and now we have the defibrillator in place. But we couldn’t have done this without Scotmid’s help.”

Eilidh Smith with her dad Alan, whose life was saved by a defibrillator with Dian Ward and Alan’s wife Moire. Photo: Martin P. McAdam