Fifty defibrillators have been handed over by NHS Borders to Selkirk charity Scottish HART, which aims to distribute them across the region.
When cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are used together, sudden cardiac arrest survival rates increase from nine per cent to 50 per cent.
Wilma Gunn, founder of Scottish HART, said: “Speed is key in cardiac arrest survival. The quicker the intervention, the better the outcome.
“These additional defibrillators in the Borders should have a significant impact on the survival rates of cardiac arrests in the community. We are truly grateful for this donation.”
The kits were bought by the health board thanks to the annual donation from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).
Jean Trench, RVS area manager, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to contribute to such a valuable project for the people of the Borders.
“Every purchase made in our retail outlets within NHS Borders hospitals contributes to our gifting, and it is very appropriate that this money has funded an initiative which will impact on every community.”
Once installed, the ambulance service will be advised of the defibrillator locations, so the public can be directed to them in an emergency.
In addition to the donation to Scottish HART, NHS Borders has given two defibrillators to Borders College, and staff and students will be offered CPR training.
NHS Borders’ resuscitation officer, Rod McIntosh, said: “A cardiac arrest is the ultimate medical emergency. The worst thing that can be done is nothing.
“Administering CPR can preserve intact brain function whilst a defibrillator is being retrieved. When used in conjunction with one another, outcomes are significantly improved for patients and more lives can be saved.”
Vice chair of NHS Borders, Dr Doreen Steele, said: “On behalf of the board I would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone involved and encourage the public to familiarise themselves with the location of community defibrillators so they can act quickly in an emergency situation and help save a life.”