THE number of people in Oxfordshire being trained to use life-saving equipment has soared thanks to an Oxford Mail-backed campaign.
Senior ambulance boss Dick Tracey said he has trained more than 400 people how to use defibrillators since we published his appeal for more machines to be installed in the county last month.
He had trained 600 people in the first six months of the year.
It comes as communities came forward to install 23 more defibrillators – treble the number usually expected each month.
The units – which anyone can use to shock the heart back to life – are seen as crucial for rural areas, which ambulances take longer to get to.
They can be used without training but Mr Tracey, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) divisional responder manager, said it gives people more confidence.
He said: “The number of people who want training has shot up because of the Oxford Mail campaign. We’re teaching people how to do CPR, put them in the recovery position and use the defibrillators.
“They are skills they can take around the country, whether they’re out shopping, or abroad on holiday. If someone collapses then they have the confidence and training to use the machines.”
Last month Mr Tracey appealed for help to boost defibrillator numbers from 120 to 320 by May next year so nobody in Oxfordshire is more than 10 minutes from one.
He said the number of enquiries trebled in the month after the Oxford Mail backed his campaign.
Among those who responded was Martin Johnson, who runs the village shop in East Hendred, near Wantage, and Kay Shortland, who has raised £5,700 for three devices in Milton-under-Wychwood, west Oxfordshire.
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