A PUBLIC access defibrillator is going to help saves lives in the town centre of Alloa after it was installed in a cabinet at the weekend.

Once registration with the ambulance service is complete over the coming week, the device on the walls of Premier Bingo will be available by calling 999 if a person suffers a cardiac arrest.

Until then, the bingo hall has the code during opening hours should anyone go unconscious and stop breathing.

Gary Drummond, keen local fundraiser and volunteer with Forth Valley First Responders, originally came up with the idea of getting a public access device for Alloa after hearing how quick-thinking local postman Jamie McGhee saved resident Ian Manzie following a sudden collapse.

He already had an automated external defibrillator (AED), but a heated cabinet was required to host the crucial piece of equipment and keep it's battery warm and ready over the cold months.

Once he started raising cash with the help of the Advertiser, Alloa Town Centre Business Improvement District (ATCBID) stepped in to cover the costs and both were installed on Saturday, November 25.

Ian and Jamie's story also highlighted the need for more people to learn CPR – the most important first-aid skill that is necessary even with a defibrillator.

And so Gary and the local First Responders since organised a day of training at Alloa Town Hall, passing their knowledge on to Wee County residents.

He hopes the device will never have to be used, but it is there to potentially save a life should it need to with Gary adding: “If [the ambulance crew] know that the defib is there and it's getting used that takes a little off their shoulders.

“Like what happened with the postie, even when the ambulance gets there they can still use people and that's something we are going to do in the future as well, just get as many people as we can trained up in basic CPR.”

For every minute the technique is not utilised to keep oxygen flowing to the brain and vital organs, a casualty's chances of survival drop by around 12.5 per cent.

However, if both CPR and a defibrillator are used effectively within the first four minutes of an incident, chances of a good outcome jump up to 60-80 per cent, according to Murray McEwan, national community resilience manager of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

He told the Advertiser: “CPR can't do any damage, it can only do good. Everybody should feel empowered and confident enough to step up and deliver CPR to a patient who is in cardiac arrest.”

Lorraine Douglas, manager at ATCBID, said the team were delighted to have helped with the drive to install Alloa's very first public access defibrillator, which will soon be available once registration is complete.

She said: “ATCBID were in the middle of sourcing a defib for the town when we noticed First Responder Gary Drummond’s plea for help in the Alloa Advertiser.

“ATCBID hope through time to have more defibrillators strategically placed throughout the town, this making the lifesaving equipment accessible 24 hours a day.

“ATCBID would like to thank Derek Campbell from Premier Bingo who has kindly gave permission for the defib to be installed on his building.

“Also to Gary Drummond, First Responder and the Alloa Advertiser for highlighting this very worthwhile project.”