Stornoway pharmacists KJ Macdonald “are giving back” to the local community with the installation of a defibrillator outside their Cromwell Street shop.

Shop owner Karen Macdonald said, “I became aware of an emergency incident locally where a defibrillator was needed. It made me think, if something was to occur on our premises how would we react and what would we do?”

“I didn’t know where the defibrillators were in Stornoway and in a situation like that the immediate reaction is always going to be panic.”

“There’s one in the bank, Town Hall and library, they’re all inside. That’s fine if something happens between the hours of 9 and half 5. We wanted to install a defibrillator on the outside of our shop that was always accessible, in the centre of town, whether someone was on a night out on a Saturday or walking their dog on a Sunday.” 

Karen Macdonald took the decision to self-fund the new defibrillator at a cost of £1500, “Next year will be our 100th anniversary and this defibrillator is a great opportunity for us to give something back to the community”

Speaking on the process of installing the defibrillator Karen said, “I got in touch with the charity Lucky2BeHere and they made it so easy for us, they put me in touch with Councillor Angus Morrison and after a conversation with him, I realised we could actually do something about this.”

Before the installation of a defibrillator, individuals involved at the organisation are required to carry out training in the use of a defibrillator.  “Lucky2BHere were amazing they ran a training session where all staff were taught how to use the defibrillator and given basic first aid.”

The eyes of Angus Morrison, Lucky2bhere Eilean Siar co-ordinator, were opened to the pressing need for readily available AED’s (Defibrillator’s) when he himself suffered a heart attack. This encouraged him to get involved with Lucky2BHere and he is now instrumental in the Eilean Siar branch of the charity.

Angus said: “ K J Macdonald’s installation is the 126th Defibrillator the Eilean Siar team of Lucky2BHere have installed throughout the Western Isles since it was established in March 2015.  I cannot stress enough the importance of people familiarising themselves with where defibrillators are located.

“Defibrillators are vital lifesaving pieces of equipment and have already been used successfully four times in Lewis alone over the past year. It is therefore essential that people know where their nearest Defibrillator is located.”

As well as AED’s installed at local businesses, the 126 defibrillators installed by the Lucky2BHere Eilean Siar team include one at every school in the Western Isles. The defibrillators are located outside the school, so they can be used during term time and at the same time be available to the community out with school hours. All are accessible 24/7 for any sudden need.

More information on the work of Lucky2BHere as well as a map of AED’s located in the Western Isles and across the country can be found either through their website https://www.lucky2bhere.org/or the Crowdsav app.