Ambitious plans have been announced that will see St John Scotland help to install a defibrillator, and provide CPR training, at every Church of Scotland church in Edinburgh.
The Presbytery of Edinburgh is investing £83,000 to buy 49 fully-automated defibrillators for the outside of buildings. A further 15 cabinets will be bought to allow churches which currently house a defibrillator to move this outside for the benefit of the whole community, and so it can be available 24/7.
Rev Michael Mair is the minister for St David's Broomhouse Church in the city, which raised funds to install a defibrillator there last year. He has led the project to expand the provision of the life-saving devices and CPR awareness training across the city, and said he was delighted that it is going ahead.
The defibrillators are being installed as part of our St John and the City project, which has seen more than 130 life-saving devices installed across the city since it began in 2016.
As part of the project, congregations and local communities will receive free training from St John Scotland volunteers in CPR and how to use the new equipment. However, the defibrillators are designed so that in an emergency they can used by anyone, even if they have not had formal training.
Each machine will also be added to a central database that provides the Scottish Ambulance Service with the nearest location, so it can be retrieved quickly.
Rev Angus Mathieson, moderator of the Presbytery of Edinburgh said: "This is a great project for the Church to be involved in. It’s about mission, being at the heart of the community and showing that the whole community matters. The presbytery is excited to be working with different partners to ensure a wider coverage for public access defibrillators. We have congregations in the presbytery which already have defibrillators installed and we want to learn from their experiences. Statistics show the difference that accessible defibrillators can make. This allows us to show in a practical way, that the Church’s witness includes and goes beyond what happens in our buildings and that we can make a difference in life or death situations."
Volunteer Lynn Cleal, who leads the St John and the City defibrillator project, said: "From our work helping provide defibrillators across Edinburgh, we know how important these machines, and the public awareness that comes with them, is in helping to save lives. We're delighted to support the Church of Scotland with this project to help reach more people across Edinburgh with life saving equipment and knowledge."