It's not a luxury item if the health of workers is number-one priority
ONE element of saving lives is having the right first-aid skills – the other is having the correct equipment.
Having a defibrillator to hand can be a real life-saver, as Ilkeston firm Amcor Flexibles discovered when a worker at one of its overseas sites collapsed from a massive heart attack.
The machine works by shocking the heart back into action.
Health and safety adviser Paul Ward – who works at the packaging firm's manufacturing site in Digby Street – said: "It was at our Denmark site that a worker collapsed. But their defibrillator was deployed and they managed to restart his heart within two minutes.
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"Within 30 minutes, he was in hospital and had undergone an operation. He has now made a full recovery.
"The hospital doctors said that, if they hadn't had the defibrillator there so quickly, he would probably not be with us today."
There is now a defibrillators, as well as 16 first aiders, at the Ilkeston site, which has 110 staff.
The Derby Telegraph is highlighting the first-aid efforts of Amcor Flexibles as part of our Save A Life campaign. We have teamed up with charity St John Ambulance to offer discounts on first-aid training – so you can learn to save lives for £10.
Mr Ward said: "In these days of budgetary cuts and financial insecurities, a defibrillator may be seen as something nice to have rather than a necessity.
"But our number-one priority is the health and safety of our workforce."
More than 130 defibrillators have been sold in the Midlands since last February, after a St John Ambulance campaign to encourage more businesses to get them.
And any firm that buys a defibrillator from the charity before June 2013 – at a cost of £1,695 – will receive training for up to eight people.
Mr Ward said: "Hopefully, we will never have to use the defibrillator. But some of our workers, including myself, suffer from heart conditions and we now have the equipment and the training to be able to help if needed."
John Cavanagh, regional director for commercial training at St John Ambulance, said: "We believe no-one should die because of a lack of first aid.
"For every minute that passes without defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 14 per cent – so immediate defibrillation could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved."