LIFE-SAVING defibrillators are being installed on Shetland’s pelagic fishing fleet.
The idea came from Charisma crew member Jimmy Tulloch, who is also an ambulance driver in the island.
During a discussion with a locum doctor working in Whalsay, Mr Tulloch learned about the charity Lucky2BHere, which was set up by Ross Cowie from Portree in 2007 after he survived a cardiac arrest at his local shinty club.
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He is still alive thanks to the fact that an ambulance with a defibrillator on board was passing by at the time.
Mr Tulloch said: “I got in touch with Ross when we were at sea – in the Irish Sea – and it has snowballed from there.
“Ross has been in Shetland this week with a team of trainers who have been showing the crews how to use the equipment.
“We hope we will never have to use them, but all the evidence shows that your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are much higher with CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and defibrillation, so these machines could be life savers.”
Mr Cowie, whose charity has installed scores of defibrillators in different locations in Skye and across Scotland, including schools, said installing them on fishing boats was a new departure.
He added: “We have not put defibrillators on to fishing vessels before, but we are hoping that this is just a start.
“We will now look at putting them on board some of the larger boats in the whitefish fleet as well.
“The vital thing for us is to install defibrillators where they can save lives, wherever that might be.
“In the UK fewer than 1 in 100 people survive cardiac arrest compared to 50 in 100 – or one in every two – in the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
“That’s because CPR and defibrillation are taught in schools. Not only is the equipment available in many more places in these countries, but the confidence exists among people to use it when it is needed.”
Defibrillators will be installed on board the Adenia, Antarctic, Antares,Charisma, Research, Serene and Zephyr.
Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation has made a donation of £25,000 to the charity.
Meanwhile, a defibrillator has also been given to the Whalsay Boating Club after a £1,500 donation by the Whalsay Gala committee.
Mr Cowie added: “We depend entirely on donations to keep this important work going. We’re delighted with this very generous support from the producers’ organisation and we’re sure it can lead to the provision of more defibrillators.
“We are hoping to establish a team here in Shetland so that more equipment can be installed and training in its use carried out.”
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