A DEVICE that could save lives in a cardiac arrest emergency is officially operational in Coalsnaughton following its unveiling last week.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is available from a cabinet on the walls of Premier Express in town by calling 999 to receive the unlock code if a person collapses and stops breathing.

The machine can greatly improve the chances of survival in the time-critical emergency and was secured by Tillicoultry, Coalsnaughton and Devonside Community Council.

It is the second such device to be installed in the area, following the launch of one on Tilly’s High Street last year.

Not only that, people also had the chance to learn how to use the defibrillator at the weekend, alongside cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which needs to be administered simultaneously.

Indeed, the community council’s Ian Millar, the man leading the defibrillator project, was keen to stress the importance of the technique after the device was unveiled.

He is encouraging people to learn the life-saving skill, which is set to be taught to children in local schools after a successful campaign by the British Heart Foundation and MSP Alexander Stewart.

Ian said: “An AED might not always available, however, it is still important to begin CPR immediately in a person who is in cardiac arrest and call 999.

“Organisations like the British Red Cross and St Andrew's first Aid run courses on first aid where you can learn other life saving skills.

“St Andrew's First Aid also offer Community Talks and Demonstrations for your group."

Speaking to the Advertiser previously when the unveiling of the device was announced, Ian explained that if a defibrillator and CPR are used effectively within three to five minutes, the chances of survival rocket from just six per cent to 74 per cent.

CPR is necessary to keep oxygen flowing around the casualty’s body while the defibrillator is set up and put to work.

The device itself speaks and gives instructions while also deciding whether delivering a an electric shock is necessary.

Following the unveiling of the device, which was deemed necessary as the one in Tillicoultry is too far in an emergency situation, thanks were given to shop owners for hosting the cabinet as well as to the EDF Burnfoot Hill Community Fund for making it possible.