A DISUSED phonebox in Comrie will be transformed into a life-saving community resource.
The redundant red kiosk in Barrack Road will house a public access defibrillator, the Herald can exclusively reveal, the first of its kind in Perthshire and one of only a few in Britain to be situated in a phonebox.
The defibrillator, which is in a special cabinet, will be accessible by any member of the community. Along with Comrie’s existing community responder service, it will provide residents with even more peace of mind in emergency situations.
The phone kiosk was offered to the community by BT a few years ago for the princely sum of £1 and the community council had been trying to come up with ways of using it.
Now, thanks to a donation to First Response by the family of the late Irene McCartney, it will accommodate the life-saving equipment.
A collection at Mrs McCartney’s funeral generated £1000 for First Response, which chose to put the money and old phonebox to good use by buying the defibrillator.
Gordon McCartney, Irene’s husband, told the Herald: “First Response does such a good job in the community and the family felt that this was an appropriate cause. First Response was a huge help to us when Irene was ill.
“We are delighted that the money has gone towards the defibrillator and it will hopefully help save the life of someone in the village one day.”
The public access defibrillator will be launched on Sunday, July 8, by Irene’s family.
First Response will provide training on how to operate the equipment on July 8, 14 and 15 from 9am to noon and from 12.30pm to 3.30pm at Comrie Fire Station. The free three-hour course will also teach CPR and basic life-saving skills and first aid. Anyone who wants to attend should register their interest at Comrie Post Office.
First Response manager Alan Moffat said: “Having a public access defibrillator increases the chances of early intervention, which is required in the event of cardiac arrest or heart attack.
“In an emergency, on contacting the ambulance service via 999 a person will be talked through how to use it.
“Thanks must go to the family of Irene McCartney for enabling us to put this in place and to Comrie Community Council for providing the phone box and financing the defibrillator cabinet. Thanks also to Michael McDougall for supplying the paint and refurbishing the kiosk inside and out and to Roger Mailer for his help.”
Alan added that there are security measures in place to protect the equipment but in communities which already have a similar scheme no problems have been reported. First Response will monitor and maintain the equipment regularly.