Portable life-saving devices have been installed on key Stirling Council buildings.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are lightweight devices that deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart when someone suffers cardiac arrest.

THEY can be used by anyone and can dramatically improve chances of survival. Using one within three to five minutes of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 75 per cent.

The defibrillators have been placed externally on the following council buildings: Old Viewforth, Tolbooth Theatre, Raploch Campus, Lower Polmaise, Municipal Building and Teith House.

They will be available for staff, visitors and members of the public to use in an emergency.

Councillor Danny Gibson, Chair of Stirling Council’s Health and Safety Panel, said: “I warmly welcome the installation of these life-saving devices on Council premises and commend the work of our Corporate Health and Safety team in taking this important initiative forward.

“The safety of our staff and the public is vital and that’s why we invested in this equipment. These defibrillators are safe and easy to use and can dramatically increase the chances of survival, and I’m delighted that they are now in place in the area.”

To increase visibility and for protection, the devices have been fitted in bright yellow cabinets, while a thermostatic heater will optimise their condition.

Stirling Council’s Corporate Health and Safety team worked with the Scottish Ambulance Service for guidance in placing the life-saving equipment and including them on the service’s public access register.

Gordon Smith, Area Services Manager for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “A cardiac arrest can strike anywhere and at any time, so we welcome this announcement.

“We know that the sooner a patient receives treatment, the better their chances are of surviving a cardiac arrest so having these defibrillators close to hand in all council buildings can save lives.

“These defib kits are really easy to use, without any training needed. If anyone is ever in the position of having to use one, you just press the ‘on’ button and the machine will talk you through what to do, step by step.”

The Council’s AEDs have been added to Trossachs Search and Rescue mobile app which allows members of the public to easily locate them, saving valuable time in an emergency.

Stuart Ballatyne, chair of Trossachs Search and Rescue, who are responsible for a number of defibrillators in the area, said: “Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition where a heart suddenly stops beating and pumping blood around someone's body, resulting in them collapsing and not breathing. It can affect people of all ages.

“Being an electrical problem, unlike a heart attack, which is a blockage problem, it can be treated by the immediate recognition that the person is not breathing, phoning 999, performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator.

“Modern defibrillators are safe, easy to use and don’t require training. It will not administer an electrical shock if not needed and the device will talk you through the process each step of the way.

“Trossachs Search and Rescue have been placing defibrillators in partnership with communities and local businesses for five years and so far, we have seen 12 people's lives saved - each by members of the public using these devices.

“Training in performing CPR and use of defibrillators is beneficial, however, and we would recommend people attend such a course, for the purpose of improving their skills and taking some of the fear out of dealing with an incident.”

Stirling Council’s Health and Safety Panel gave the green light for funding the initiative following submissions from trade unions.

Lorraine Thomson, UNISON Stirling Branch Secretary, said: “UNISON Stirling are delighted that Stirling Council have invested in this potential life-saving resource. There has always been a recognition that there was a need for this resource to be accessible across Stirling and it is great to see that they are now in place.”

The defibrillators are managed and monitored by the Council’s Health and Safety Team, who carry out monthly checks.

To access the defibrillators in an emergency call 999, and the operator will provide the access code.

For more information visit: stirling.gov.uk/defibs

To access Trossachs Search and Rescue App, see www.trossachsdefibrillator.co.uk