Life-saving kit in urgent need of a new home

Defib in Gerard Street
Defib in Gerard Street

Emergency services are appealing for someone to house life-saving equipment on a major Wigan high street.

The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) located on Ashton high street has been damaged leaving people concerned for public safety.

The life-saving machine which was installed outside Nationwide on Gerard Street, has been missing for a number of weeks with many residents wondering how to obtain it in a life-threatening emergency.

North West Ambulance Service has put an end to speculation that the defibrillator was damaged by hooligans, although this has been the case in the past. A public outcry followed on Facebook after pictures of the empty casing appeared, with many residents looking for someone to be held responsible.

Carol Jones raised the alarm about the machine, which is designed to help members of the public restart a heart in the case of failure.

She posted a photograph on Facebook saying: “Just been for a walk in Ashton and noticed this empty. Supposed to be life saving piece of equipment and it’s missing.”

NWAS has spoken out to reassure the public that the defibrillator is water-damaged and that there is intention to reinstall it as soon as a new home is available.

A spokesperon for the ambulance service said: “It has not been stolen. The defibrillator is faulty because there’s water dripping on it from the gutter above it.

“It is currently at the opticians (Bowen and Leeming Opticians) and we are working on getting the box removed from off the wall. NWAS is trying to find somewhere suitable but such a place hasn’t been found yet.

“It needs electricity running through it constantly. We are looking for someone who is happy to have it on their building. If anyone is happy to have it or knows of anyone please contact NWAS.”

Unfortunately Wigan has a history of damaged or stolen defibrillators. Just last month yobs wrecked the cabinet holding a defibrillator in Standish. The AED based on Wigan Road was damaged so badly, it is now placed inside “The Wiper Company” building in Standish, where residents and visitors have access only limited to the store’s opening hours.

Both of these defibrillators have been temporarily removed from the list of equipment that NWAS can point people to in an emergency when they call 999.

Speaking about the Gerard Street AED, Janet Gough said: “That has been empty for a long time, drunks and yobs keep taking it away. It has been replaced many times before. Unfortunately idiots keep vandalising it, so no point in replacing it.”

According to the public post, Wigan North Western station has also seen a problem with its defibrillator as it has now expired and has not yet been replaced. Some used the incident to promote CPR, the technique also used to administer vital care for someone with little to no pulse.

Katie Taylor: “While it’s a shame it’s empty, You do not need a defibrillator to save someone’s life. A good standard of CPR can save a life while you are waiting for an ambulance. I would really recommend every single person to learn it.”

Anyone with urgent need of the defibrillator can find it at Bowen and Leeming Opticians, which is open on Monday to Friday from 9am until 5.30pm and on Saturday from 9am until 1pm.