HomePeopleHealth & SafetyLife saved underlines importance of defibrillators and training

Life saved underlines importance of defibrillators and training

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ScotRail staff have saved a railway worker’s life by using a defibrillator – once again proving the importance of the equipment to the railways.

The two quick-thinking staff members — Lorna Bathgate, who works in the ticket office, and Charlie Algeo, a train dispatcher – were able to come to a worker’s aid who had collapsed at Inverkeithing station in Fife after members of the public alerted them.

Lorna quickly realised the person was not breathing and immediately began to give CPR compressions while Charlie retrieved the station’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Defibrillators have seen a major rollout in recent years. Back in 2018, ScotRail installed 34 defibrillators at its stations. Now, about 45 of its stations have access to the life-saving equipment.

They’re not the only rail operators to get them installed in greater numbers over recent times.

Northern has said earlier this year it is installing 100 in its stations, putting the total number to 189. These come with spoken instructions on how to use them. Transport for Wales also launched a major initiative in February, coinciding with ‘Defibruary’ – a month-long campaign by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust to raise awareness of the importance of defibrillators. Govia Thameslink announced in Autumn of last year that it would have AEDs at every one of its stations on the UK rail network.

And they are being installed with good reason – 1.4 million in the UK have survived a heart attack, and someone is admitted to hospital with cardiac arrest once every five minutes.

David Lister, ScotRail Safety, Engineering & Sustainability Director, said: “What started as a normal day heading in to work for one person quickly turned into a horrible nightmare which, thankfully, has had a positive ending.

“In an emergency, a defibrillator can be the difference between life and death, and that’s been proven true. It’s why we’ve made sure we have them at many of our busier stations across the country.

“The railway is often described as a family, and while they may not have known at the time, Lorna and Charlie’s actions helped keep that railway family together – they are a credit to ScotRail, and I could not be prouder of them.”

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