Thorney now has a Volunteer Emergency Telephone Service to help in the event of anyone suffering from a heart attack in the village.
VETS (Volunteer Emergency Telephone Service) has been set up by the Keep Thorney Beating campaign which raised funds this year to buy a defibrillator for the village.
It came into being this week when its dedicated telephone number – 530503 – went live.
Keep Thorney Beating organiser Lynn Batterbee explains how it works:
“If anyone suffers a heart attack, the first call should be 999 for an emergency ambulance. When you give them details of where you live, they will tell you that there is a defibrillator in the village at the Medical Centre and will give you a code to allow you to open the cabinet and take it out.
“The VETS service is there to help. People wouldn’t want to leave a loved one who is ill or they may not be able to leave because they are giving CPR.
“They can phone the VETS number and someone from the village will respond by bringing the defibrillator to their home and helping them use it if needed.”
Lynn stresses that the VETS number should be used only in the event of a heart attack or suspected heart attack. The volunteers are not paramedics or first aiders and have been trained only in how to operate the defibrillator.
Thirteen people from the village have volunteered to be responders. When you ring 530503, it rings all of their telephones and when one picks up, all the others stop ringing.
“We really hope none of this will ever be needed,” says Lynn, “but if it is we hope we’ve put in place equipment and a help network that can save someone’s life.”