POLICE VEHICLES THROUGHOUT the north east have been equipped with life-saving defibrillators thanks to the efforts of a Moray family struck by tragedy.
Ten of the machines were donated by Sandra and Gordon McKandie yesterday after they rallied family and friends into a fundraising effort in memory of their son Keiran, who died after his bicycle collided with a car on the B9010 in March 2016.
Police were first on the scene that day – but there was a delay in treatment for Keiran as it took 27 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. It has been the subject of intense debate since all the way to the Scottish Parliament, with the McKandie’s calling on all emergency service vehicles to be fitted with the devices and officers trained in their use.
The ten defibrillators have already been distributed to roads policing vehicles in Elgin, Inverurie, Mintlaw, Stonehaven and Aberdeen, and will be deployed in cases of out of hospital cardiac arrests where police vehicles will act in support of their ambulance service colleagues.
Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “Police Scotland is very grateful for the provision of 10 Automated External Defibrillators, kindly donated by Gordon and Sandra McKandie, as part of a positive and a lasting legacy following the tragic death of their son Keiran.
“Over the last three months more than 50 Road Policing officers from the North East have had advanced AED training to prepare them for this role, which will see both police and ambulance service staff deploy in partnership across the Grampian Region to enhance out-of-hospital cardiac arrest care provision.
“On a daily basis Police Scotland officers across the country provide support and assistance to our ‘blue light’ colleagues including the Scottish Ambulance Service, and this pilot will further strengthen those local partnerships as we all strive to keep people safe.”
Chief Inspector Louise Blakelock, the local area commander for road policing north, added: “We are extremely grateful to Keiran’s family for the generous donation of ten defibrillator machines which will be carried in our road policing vehicles in the North East.
“The McKandie family are to be commended for their dedication to the fundraising campaign during such difficult times and these defibrillators will provide something positive from this tragic incident.
“The pilot will run initially for six months and then will be reviewed. A number of officers have been trained in the use of the defibrillators, with more to follow and this will allow our road policing officers to provide enhanced medical aid if required when they are first on the scene of serious incidents.”
Sandra McKandie said that it was because Keiran was in a rural area when his accident happened that police were first on the scene – and had they had a defibrillator there was a chance his life might have been saved.
She added: “This is a first step and we hope that police are able to use the kit with ease. Nothing can compensate for Keiran not physically being in our lives any more but the fact that these defibrillators are located in emergency response police vehicles will enable others in a critical condition to have an increased chance of survival.”
Scottish Ambulance Service area manager for Grampian, Euan Esslemont, said that the service was now looking forward to trialling the initiative with Police Scotland and acknowledge the role played by the family in the scheme being established.
For the SFRS Senior Officer for Moray, David Rout, also paid tribute to the McKandie family and friends who made the initiative possible.
He added: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is currently developing a Grampian Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) forum along with Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service and other partners such as Sandpiper Wildcat project to assist in delivering against the Scottish Government’s OHCA Strategy, which aims to dramatically increase patients’ survival chances and save as many as 1000 lives by 2020.
“The SFRS continues to deliver the commitments made to the OHCA improvement programme which is crucial in terms of saving lives, improving patient outcomes and delivering an enhanced service to the local communities.”