‘Keirans Legacy’ donation secures defibrillators for all road policing units across Scotland

Left to Right: Chief Inspector West Command: Lorraine Napier, Chief Inspector East Command: Andy Gibb, Gordon McKandie, Sandra McKandie, Chief Inspector North Andy Barclay & Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock.

SCOTTISH charity Keirans Legacy has donated defibrillator equipment to the value of £80,000 to Police Scotland, which will now ensure that a defibrillator is available to all road policing units, Scotland-wide.  The defibrillator donation from Keirans Legacy will ensure that children and adults now have access to this life-saving equipment.

Before Keirans Legacy formed a partnership with Police Scotland, many road policing vehicles did not carry defibrillators onboard. Since 2016, the charity has worked with specific regions across Scotland (Grampian, Highlands and Moray) to provide smaller defibrillator donations. This donation will be the biggest to date and mean that every road policing unit across Scotland will have access to a defibrillator for the very first time. All Police Scotland officers receive yearly training on defibrillators and are trained to assist at serious incidents.

‘Keirans Legacy’ is a Scottish charity which helps provide life-saving equipment (primarily defibrillators) and training across Scotland. Keirans Legacy was founded in 2016 by Sandra and Gordon McKandie of Moray, as a result of their 16-year-old son Keiran being involvedin an accident with a car which was fatal on the 20th of March 2016. The nearest ambulance was 38 miles away and took 30 minutes to attend, the police fast response vehicle which was the first emergency service on the scene had no emergency life-saving equipment.  The charity was originally set up with the aim of raising £3,000 to put three defibrillators into fast response vehicles in Moray.

Since its formation in 2016, Keirans Legacy has saved 9 lives, installed 170+ defibrillators in local communities and emergency response vehicles across Scotland, and provideddefibrillator CPR training within local communities and defibrillator & CPR training in secondary schools throughout Moray in collaboration with the local council.

The charity’s mission is to improve the chances of survival for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest including trauma victims by installing and maintaining appropriate equipment (primarily defibrillators), training individuals in first aid and lobbying the government to legislate to ensure emergency response services have a national policy regarding deployment to ensure the nearest emergency service is deployed for their use. It also assists in improving the well-being and mental health of others by providing recreational activities.

Sandra McKandie, Keiran’s mum and charity founder said: “Despite having worked as a nurse in the NHS and primarily in resuscitation within hospitals, I had never realised that there were not defibrillators available to all road policing units. As these road vehicles are often the nearest emergency service and can respond to accidents and incidents much quicker than an ambulance or fire brigade, to us it seemed like the most sensible place to put defibrillators. It is a fact that for every minute that somebody needs a defibrillator, the chance of survival reduces by 10%, so if you can get a police car out within three minutes, then you’ve probably got a 70% chance of survival. If you get an ambulance out in 10 minutes, then your chance of survival is slim for an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest. The longer you wait, the less chance of survival you have.”

Sandra continued: “In Scotland, over 3,000 people will have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year and less than 10% will survive due to a lack of equipment, education, and lack of response due to the fact that emergency services can’t get to some rural locations quickly enough. The sooner someone can get a defib on with good CPR, the better chance that person will have, regardless of location. As a charity, we want to ensure that everyone has the best chance of survival.”

Talking of the recent Police Scotland partnership and the future for Keirans Legacy, Sandra says, “Our core charity aim was to get defibrillator access into every fast response vehicle on active duty across Scotland, which is what this new Police Scotland partnership will achieve. Now that we’ve done that, we want to see the defibs being utilised and see how many more lives we can save. Our next focus is to continue our work together with the emergency services to change the operational policy across Scotland and that the nearest emergency service with the appropriate kit, personnel and training is deployed when there’s any kind of delay in an ambulance responding to an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest emergency. We know that the fast response vehicles have the speed, and the knowledge and with our help, they will now also have the equipment.”

Sandra concluded: “Our ambition is bigger than just providing the equipment and we must look to other countries across the world who are more successful at responding to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.  Scandinavian countries for example have a much more joint emergency response to this kind of emergency situation,  whereas in the UK how our emergency services are connected and deployed needs to improve. So, whilst we’ve managed this partnership to get life-saving equipment in police fast response vehicles, for us it is about getting the nearest fast response vehicle to respond (with the right equipment and personnel) in the event of a cardiac arrest if possible. This is what we are really driving for to honour Keiran. An operational policy that changes how emergency services are dispatched to deal with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests would ensure more lives are saved in Keiran’s name.”

Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock, Head of Road Policing, said: “We are extremely grateful to Keirans Legacy for this generous donation and commend the family on their tireless fundraising efforts for this life-saving equipment. 

“Preservation of life lies at the heart of policing and while we are not a substitute for paramedics, we know the vital difference this emergency first aid equipment can make.

“I’d like to thank Keiran’s family and acknowledge their dedication to making positive changes following such a tragic event in their lives.”

To enquire about a defibrillator, training provision, corporate sponsorship, fundraising, volunteering or how Keirans Legacy can help provide recreational activities, please visithttps://www.keiranslegacy.co.uk/

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