Don, who is the general manager at Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall, is also a voluntary Garw Valley Community First Responder who is often called upon by the Welsh Ambulance Service
Don has helped to install defibrillators at five locations managed by Awen, in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, including Bryngarw House, Bryngarw Country Park, Betws Life Centre, Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall and the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl.
A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in sudden cardiac arrest. The British Heart Foundation estimates that around 80,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur in the UK each year, with over 30,000 of these happening outside of a hospital environment where professional help would be quickly available.
Although anyone can use a defibrillator without any training, because there are clear instructions and they will only deliver a shock if it is needed, not accidentally, a study by the Open Heart found a reluctance to use one in a cardiac arrest situation.
Don said: “The purpose of the training is to raise awareness of defibrillators and give as many people as possible the skills and confidence to use them in an emergency situation. A sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere and anytime without warning – in a work place or public space – and by having the practical experience of performing CPR and using a defibrillator without hesitation or fear, we are giving that person the best possible chance of survival. If my training allows my colleagues to save just one life, then that will be a job well done.”
Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, added: “We are so grateful to Don for delivering this vital training to our staff. We are encouraging all colleagues to participate, so that everyone, no matter their role or where they are based, are familiar with the device and can respond swiftly and calmly to someone in sudden cardiac arrest, while they wait for the emergency services to arrive.”