This entailed the official launch of the nine defibrillators along the Railway, resulting in a scenario where passengers, staff and the local community will never be far from a defibrillator should it be unfortunately necessary to use one.
Several years ago a passenger at Blaenau Ffestiniog suffered a heart attack and was attended not only by the local ambulance crew but also by two off duty staff from the London Ambulance Service. In this particular case a defibrillator would have been of little use, however the patient’s family generously funded the instalment of a defibrillator at the station.
This inspired a further donation enabling the installation of defibrillators at the Railway’s other principal stations at Caernarfon and Porthmadog along with the workshops at Boston Lodge. This encouraged the Railway to identify an opportunity to further enhance its first aid capabilities by placing defibrillators on the five main carriage sets, and thanks to the support of the two supporting societies – the Ffestiniog Railway Society and Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri – Defibrillators have been installed in each guard’s van.
The opening week of trains provided the perfect opportunity to officially announce the installation of these defibrillators. Tomos Hughes BEM, who leads the project for the Wales Ambulance service across Gwynedd and North Wales, provided walk through demonstrations of the Defibrillator machines during the afternoon. These machines provide users with fully automated vocal instructions to make their implementation simple to understand in case of emergency. Tomos runs a local charity which aims to install defibrillators throughout the area – Achub Calon y Dyffryn (Saving the Heart of the Valley) which work in partnership with SADS UK and Keep the Beats charities.
Ffestiniog Railway Society Chairman; Howard Wilson and Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri Director Alun Tomlinson were both present at the launch to signify the generous donations of both societies. Our Safety Manager, Nick Griffiths, and first aid volunteers and trainers, Tony Peake and Ian Dawson also attended the launch, discussing the crucial role they play in keeping the Railway safe for all. Other first aid volunteers, Judith Ward and Gordon Jackson, while not able to attend the launch, have also made significant contributions to the Railway’s health and safety department over many years.
These initiatives are part of our ongoing policy to provide the best all-round service provision for customers, staff and the general public.