A POTENTIALLY life-saving emergency device has been installed in Dalgety Bay thanks to the St John Scotland charity and defence contractor BAE Systems.

The public access defibrillator was unveiled last Thursday by Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman, and has been installed at Dalgety Parish Church.

The small portable device can be used if someone suffers a cardiac arrest, where the heart suddenly stops beating. It works by delivering an electric shock to the heart to kick start it back into normal rhythm.

Provost Leishman said: “I am honoured to be supporting this initiative by St John Scotland and BAE Systems, which has the potential to save many lives. Having immediate access to lifesaving and easy to use equipment in public places such as Dalgety Parish Church is a benefit to residents and visitors in the town.”

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any age, and affects around 3,500 people in Scotland every year. The defibrillator has been installed on the outside wall of the church, to be available to the public 24/7 for use in an emergency.

In the event of cardiac arrest, for every minute that someone goes without treatment, chances of survival reduce by 10 per cent. So treating someone quickly is vital. Performing CPR and using a defibrillator within the first few minutes can make the difference between life and death.

The church’s minister, Reverend Christine Sime, said: “This is an important addition to the community and having it accessible to all represents what we hope our church is – here for the benefit of and service to all.”

Jim Kinloch, programmes manager at BAE Systems in Hillend, said: “This year we are celebrating 50 years at our site in Fife and we continue to believe in the importance of supporting our local community.

“Cardiac arrest can affect anyone and we are very pleased to know that thanks to the efforts of our employees, through various fundraisers, we are providing a potentially life-saving item.”

St John Scotland helped provide the defibrillator as part of the charity’s drive to increase access to the devices in communities across the country.

Local volunteers are working to install more of the emergency devices in Fife – the Dalgety Bay defibrillator follows last month’s unveiling of a machine at Dunfermline’s Baldridgeburn Community Centre.

The Press also ran its Take Heart campaign last year which, with considerable help from stakeholders, managed to get public access defibrillators installed in the town centre of Dunfermline.

Lawson Rennie, vice chair of St John Scotland’s Fife committee, said: “Our work as a charity is all about saving and enhancing life, so we are delighted that we’ve been able to help provide another defibrillator in Fife.

"Although we hope it will never be needed, we’re pleased to see the defibrillator here for the benefit of everyone in Dalgety Bay, and to know it could save someone’s life.”