‘Defibruary’ campaign begins across communities in Wales

THURSDAY the 2nd of February marked the start of St John Ambulance Cymru’s annual Defibruary campaign, which aims to raise defibrillator awareness in communities across Wales.

Following a cardiac arrest, a person’s chances of survival are reduced by 10% for every passing minute without action. The first aid charity for Wales wants more people across the country to feel confident in locating and using their nearest defibrillator, so more lives can be saved.

Before learning first aid skills with the charity, St John Ambulance Cymru volunteer Dave High never imagined he would be able to save a life, but last year at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, he did exactly that.

In July 2023, Dave was volunteering at the music event when a member of the public went into cardiac arrest. He used the skills he had learnt with St John Ambulance Cymru to help save the gentleman’s life using CPR and a defibrillator.

The elderly gentleman had collapsed in the car park outside the event towards the end of the concert. The gentleman’s wife and those nearby quickly realised he was unresponsive and called for help. Luckily, an off-duty healthcare professional visiting the Eisteddfod was nearby and began CPR immediately. Dave and a member of his volunteer team, Cassie, promptly made their way to the scene to assist with resuscitation.

After several rounds of CPR from volunteers and the off-duty healthcare professional, and various shocks from a defibrillator, the patient began breathing again.

“From a person that does not work in the medical field at all, it was the scariest but most satisfying thing I have ever done” he said. “Two years ago, I would never have thought I would even be going to the Eisteddfod, never mind saving a life while wearing a uniform that I am so proud to be able to wear.”

Dave added: “When the worst happened, I didn’t overthink, I didn’t hesitate, there was no feeling of ‘I hope I don’t mess this up’.” He just followed his training and successfully saved a life.

This February the charity is asking the people of Wales to Learn, Locate and Donate so they too can step in to help save a life should someone near them need help.

St John Ambulance Cymru is running free first aid demonstrations for schools, community groups and clubs throughout the month and is urging people to reach out and arrange a session. For more in-depth first aid knowledge, you can also book onto an certified workplace first aid course with their team of premium trainers.

Learning how to quickly and confidently deliver CPR and use a defibrillator could mean the difference between life and death, just like it did with Dave.

The first public events of the campaign will take place at Cardiff’s St Davids Shopping centre, where public demonstrations will be given on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd February from 10am to 4pm.

The first aid charity is also urging the people of Wales to locate their nearest defibrillator and register any they are responsible for with The Circuit. The Circuit is the national defibrillator network, which the emergency services use to direct people in an emergency. Visit http://www.thecircuit.uk to locate or register your nearest one today.

The Defibruary campaign is also fundraising for new public access defibrillators on St John Ambulance Cymru Divisional buildings across Wales. As well as acting as community bases for the charity’s volunteers, Divisional buildings are also used for various training and community purposes.

If you’d like to find out more about the Defibruary campaign, please visit www.sjacymru.org.uk/defibruary to arrange a course or make a donation today.

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