A NEW campaign to raise awareness of lifesaving defibrillators has won backing in Keighley.

St John Ambulance has launched the initiative after research showed that over half of people wouldn't know what to do if faced with someone suffering a cardiac arrest.

And more than two-thirds of respondents wrongly believed that a defibrillator could cause a patient harm.

The ambulance brigade has labelled its venture C.A.R.E for a Heart.

C.A.R.E. stands for: C – Closest defibrillator, find your nearest defibrillator; A – Arrest? Be ready to spot the signs of cardiac arrest; R – Resuscitate. Know how to resuscitate using CPR; E – Early defibrillation. Early defibrillation gives the best chance of survival.

Among those supporting the scheme is NRGym in Keighley, which has recently had two defibrillators installed at its Greengate Road premises.

Rousel Chowdhury, the gym's co-owner, said: "Everyone should find out where their nearest defibrillator is and how to use it, before a critical situation arises.

"These devices have a proven track record of helping to save lives.

"In the event of a cardiac arrest, early treatment, CPR and the use of a defibrillator dramatically improves the chance of survival."

He said all the gym staff had been trained by St John Ambulance in use of the devices.

"We have one defibrillator on the weights floor and another on our functional floor," he added.

"It's a piece of lifesaving kit that you hope you never need to use, but just in case we're as prepared as best we can be."

Backing is also given by heart-care campaigner Lizzie Jones.

She launched a defibrillator fund after her husband Danny collapsed and died from an underlying heart condition while playing rugby league for Keighley Cougars against London Skolars in May, 2015. He was 29.

The project – set-up in conjunction with the RFL Benevolent Fund – this year smashed through its original £50,000 target, raising enough money for dozens of clubs to receive the devices.

Mrs Jones said: "Everyone should know where their nearest defib is – it literally is a matter of life or death.

"We want to make sure there is a defib close to everyone and that people understand how simple they are to use.

"Even with no training, you can effectively use one and save somebody's life.

"Find out where your local one is and if it's not close enough, let's change that."

Simon Dunn – for St John Ambulance – said that whilst most people had some awareness of defibrillators, the research showed that considerable work was still needed to educate the public about what to do in a cardiac emergency.

He added: "Home is where the heart is; it's also where the majority of cardiac arrests happen, outside of hospital, which means it's more likely to be our friends, family – or even ourselves – who need first aid in this life or death moment.

"None of us want to find ourselves in a situation where we couldn't save a loved one's life, any more than we'd want them to stand by helpless if we suffered a cardiac arrest.

"That's why we are urging everybody to learn the four simple steps of C.A.R.E."

St John Ambulance has produced videos on the issue which can be viewed at sja.org.uk/care.