They are small, remote and very beautiful. But now two East Sussex villages can now consider themselves among the safest places to live in the county.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a heart attack in Mayfield there is an excellent chance you will live to tell the tale. And the same will shortly be true of Waldron.
Dr Robin Warshafsky, of the Woodhill Surgery, was the driving force behind acquiring three defibrillators for the village. He said: “My father collapsed in the locker room of his exercise club in Toronto about six years ago. The club had staff trained to administer CPR and also had an automatic defibrillator so he survived. He was very lucky. Every second counts.”
Following the swift action which saved his father’s life, Dr Warshafsky worked to acquire the equipment for the village.
Under the auspices of the Woodhill Patients’ Group and supported by SECAM, there is now one in the porch of the surgery itself, one at the primary school and a third at Five Ashes Inn.
Several dozen people have been trained to use the equipment which is simple to operate.
“You switch it on and it tells you what to do. But you must bear safety in mind - for example it would be dangerous if someone was lying in a muddy puddle of water!”
For anyone faced with the terrifying experience of trying to revive someone on the point of death, Dr Warshafsky says: “If they know where the debrillator is, then go and get it and start to use it.
“In any case, ring 999. That 999 call will alert people who know about their use and scramble them to come and help immediately. It is good for everyone to have some idea of what and where it is.”
In Waldron, Tim Williams heads a group which has set up the Heathfield and Waldron First Responder scheme to ensure a volunteer attends an emergency to administer immediate first aid.
And plans are being laid to combine health care with a future for the village’s formerly redundant red telephone box.
A meeting will be held on May 23 to promote the installation of a defibrillator.
He said: “The box is in the middle of the village so everyone can access it. So far we have three volunteers trained to deal with emergencies and use the equipment and three are awaiting training.
“If someone collapses from a heart condition and is technically dead you have about nine minutes to use rescuscitation equipment. The defibrillator is the size of a large handbag - when it is opened an alarm goes off and the machine ‘talks to you.’
“There are on average 170 of these episodes a day in the UK and speed is of the essence. We are quite remote and it would take the Heathfield ambulance a while to reach us.
“We suggest people dial 112 which gives an instant GPS map reading so the location can be found quickly. Debrillator use is well established in larger towns so we are behind the game, but catching up fast.”