Residents can use vital defibrillator

A piece of life-saving equipment that can be used by the public is now in place in Ashington town centre.

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 8:00 am
Oasis Health Club owner Kevin Crick, left, and Dougie McEwan, vice chairman of The Stephen Carey Fund, with the defibrillator. Picture by Jane Coltman.

The automated external defibrillator (AED), which has been installed on the outside of Oasis Health Club on Woodhorn Road, was supplied by The Stephen Carey Fund.

The link-up between the business and the charity came about after Andy Tomlin – a Northumbrian Water employee – rushed to Darin Ferguson’s aid last year. Both men are from Ashington.

Darin suffered a cardiac arrest at Whorral Bank in Morpeth while out cycling with a friend. When Andy arrived at the scene, he applied CPR and he also assisted paramedics when they arrived.

The day before it happened, he was one of a number of Northumbrian Water employees to receive an important training session from The Stephen Carey Fund chairman Scott McEwan.

Darin is a good friend of Oasis Health Club’s owner, Kevin Crick, who said: “Following his recovery, we thought it would be a good idea to do a fund-raiser so we could a get a defibrillator installed outside the building.

“Some of our team ran a three-hour spinathon for a group of members. Everyone chipped in and we raised about £1,250 – the charity match-funded this total so we could buy the equipment.

“It’s important that as many people as possible in Ashington know that it is available and it can be used by the general public to save lives.”

“The defibrillator is easily noticeable in the evening because there’s a green light above it,” he added.

The namesake Stephen Carey Fund was officially launched in February 2013 in memory of the 21-year-old from Alnmouth, who collapsed and died while playing for his local village football team on July 12, 2012.

As well as delivering training sessions, it has now provided 65 AEDs in cabinets across a wide area and 17 additional defibrillators have been given to businesses, organisations and clubs.

Vice chairman Dougie McEwan said: “The AEDs are live-saving equipment and we’re delighted that our first one in Ashington has now been installed.

“We’re very grateful to the staff and members at Oasis Health Club for their fantastic fund-raising.”

Some important facts about automated external defibrillators

An AED is an easy to use electronic device, designed to be used by a layperson. It automatically reads the heart rhythm of someone who may have suffered a cardiac arrest and diagnoses if an electrical shock is required to restore a normal heart rhythm.

It uses a series of illustrations and calm voice prompts to guide the user through the whole process, step by step.

You can do no harm with an AED. It will only allow an electrical shock to be delivered to the heart of someone who needs it – a shock cannot be delivered in error.

If you need to use the defibrillator located on Woodhorn Road, dial 999 and choose the North East Ambulance Service option to get the code to open the cabinet.