Joining forces to save lives

LICENSING officers with Liverpool City Council could soon become real-lifesavers thanks to a new initiative that will see them offer vital first-aid in a medical emergency.

The team has joined forces with Liverpool-based charity The Oliver King Foundation, to equip its fleet of vehicles with state-of-the-art defibrillators.

And now the scheme is set to be expanded to also include volunteers from city’s Hackney Carriage fleet

The Licensing Team has a fleet of five vehicles which are out and about across the city 24 hours a day. Officers have been given emergency first aid training, which includes full instructions in how to use the lifesaving piece of kit.

Karl Lloyd, who is a training officer with the city council, explains: “Equipment like this really can make all the difference in a medical emergency. People are naturally wary about using a defibrillator but the latest versions are fully automated and do all the work for you.

“We always have two people in our licensing vehicles and both will be trained how to use this lifesaving equipment.”

The defibrillators have been provided in partnership with The Oliver King Foundation.

Foundation founder Mark King has made it his mission to raise awareness about the vital role defibrillators can play following the tragic death of his 12-year old son Oliver.

Oliver was taking part in a swimming lesson in 2011 when he went into cardiac arrest. It later transpired that Oliver had an underlying medical condition Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). Mark believes that the presence of a defibrillator could have made all the difference.

He said: “As a father, I was horrified to discover that we lose up to 19 young lives a week through cardiac arrest. We set up the foundation to raise awareness about Oliver’s condition and how important defibrillators are. Ultimately we want to see a defibrillator wherever you see a fire extinguisher.

“I am only a dad but I am a dad on a mission to stop anyone else going through what my family has gone through. It is initiatives such as this one from the city council that will really help. We are proud to support it.”

If a defibrillator is used within the first minute of collapse, the survival rate can be up to 90 per cent. This reduces by 10 per cent for every passing minute.

The council is already planning to expand the scope of the project as Liverpool City Manager Kevin Johnson explains: “Following our launch with the Oliver King Foundation we put the call out to the city’s taxi community to see if we could get people to volunteer to have the training and carry a defibrillator in their vehicles. We are delighted to say that so far we have had more than 10 drivers come forward and express an interest in completing the training and carrying a defibrillator in their cab, which is great news for the campaign and for the people of Liverpool.”