Providing peace of mind for county’s flying fanatics

Storm Smith and Roy Woolridge with the defibrillator at Eshott Airfield.
Storm Smith and Roy Woolridge with the defibrillator at Eshott Airfield.

Northumberland’s main aerodrome in Eshott has had an automated external defibrillator (AED) installed after several heart scares among older users of the airfield.

While none were fatal, the incidents have sparked action among flying enthusiasts who decided the time had come to get some protection in place.

The airfield now has a state-of-the-art Powerheart G5 AED from Cardiac Science on hand, designed to talk a user through a rescue step by step.

It is the only AED on the market which gives a shock only if required, making it easy and intuitive to use.

Roy Woolridge and airfield owner Storm Smith helped get the defibrillator in place.

Roy has his own plane at Eshott and is a director of WIN Health Ltd, a UK-based distributor of a wide range of medical devices and healthcare products.

He said: “It is an essential safeguard for everyone who uses the airfield.

“It is a large, fairly remote place which emergency services would struggle to get to in the event of an incident and having had a couple of scares we did not want to take the risk anymore.”

Several US studies document the effects of time to defibrillation on survival from cardiac arrest and the consensus is that minutes count.

If a rescuer can provide defibrillation in the first minute, the victim’s chance of survival increases to more than 90 per cent.

However, each minute that passes will decrease the victim’s chance of survival by seven to 10 per cent if no defibrillation is provided.

The AED has been installed at the airfield’s clubhouse building and a number of key people on the site have been trained as first responders.

John McPherson, from Cardiac Science, said: “It often takes a heart scare to get people thinking about what they would do in a sudden cardiac arrest emergency and the G5 will now provide immediate help as required for flying enthusiasts and others who use the airfield regularly.”

Eshott is home to more 50 aircraft, the clubhouse is busy with members and visitors at weekends and it hosts a number of popular annual events such as the Great North Fly-in, which took place the weekend before last.

Roy added: “The defib will give us all peace of mind.”