All defibrillators in Oswestry are working and up to date thanks to a county councillor and first responders.
The campaign ‘Keeping Oswestry Alive’ was the idea of the Oswestry Life’s Director David Lee-Birch, who at the time was the manager of the now defunct Oswestry & Border Chronicle.
David said “Sadly in January 2011 I lost my mum from a massive heart attack which came totally out of the blue. Even though paramedics were on the scene in minutes and nothing further could have been done, I wanted something good to come out of a devastating event, and hopefully give someone else a fighting chance”
“The campaign was launched and in 2013, and in just a few months we raised our target of £6,000”.
“There was a remarkable response to our appeal from readers and advertisers, we also had the full support of the British Heart Foundation who part-funded the project. Readers came into the office bringing cash, and staff and their family members did everything from a marathon, bag packing and a sponsored swim.
The result was Six defibrillators installed throughout Oswestry’s town centre.
Sadly, since the newspaper closed and the publisher moved from the town, the defibrillators had become unmaintained and not serviced with no one taking responsibility.
Thanks to Councillor Paul Milner, he has worked with the town’s Community First Responders to ensure all pads have been replaced, faults rectified, and codes clearly marked on the boxes.
Paul said:” The reason I got involved was because a few months ago I noticed that the box numbers on several of the defibrillator boxes had become unreadable. These numbers are vitally important as you need them so you can give them to the emergency services, they can then give you the keypad code so you can open the defibrillator boxes to gain access to the defibrillator itself which is inside”.
“I contacted the West Midlands Ambulance Service who then put me in contact with Mr Steve Gatley from the Oswestry Community First Responders. After an initial meeting with Mr Gatley , he
found that nearly all the pads use by dates had expired in 2016 and several other faults were also found during the inspections. On finding this out all the pads have been replaced and the other faults have been rectified. In addition, all the defibrillators are now inspected on a 2 weekly basis to make sure they are in working order by Mr Gatley and the community first responders”.
“A gentleman was in The Oswestrian on Festival Square about 12 months ago when he suffered a heart attack. A member of staff recognised his symptoms and called 999. That person was then advised there was a defibrillator located across the road at M&S. Through the quick thinking of the member of staff of The Oswestrian and West Midlands Ambulance Service the defibrillator was used, and the man’s life was saved.”.
The defibrillators are located on the outside of the following locations in Oswestry’s town centre:
- Powis Hall Market, Bailey Head
- Woodhead Sales and Lettings, Leg Street
- M&S loading bay by the side of the Memorial Hall,
- Former Shropshire Star office on Salop Road,
- On the Parish Church’s Parish Centre which is located halfway along the Broad walk, this defibrillator was paid for & maintained jointly between the Parish Church, Oswestry Tennis Club & St Oswalds Bowling Club,
- At the rear of the Wynnstay Hotel on the wall of the gymnasium.
- The Senior Citizens Club, Lorne Street, Oswestry.
Pictured: Councillor Paul Milner and David Lee-Birch, alongside the defibrillator positioned on the Powis Hall Market.