ORMSKIRK’S Street Pastors will soon be carrying around life-saving equipment on their weekend patrols of the town in a pioneering scheme.
The pastors team, made up of 32 volunteers from Ormskirk churches, patrol the town centre and care for those in need of help every Friday and Saturday night.
And they will soon be able to play an even more vital role – by becoming one of the first pastors teams in the country to carry around a portable defibrillator unit with them.
The life-saving devices, which treat people suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest, talk users through how to treat a victim.
The funding for the £650 project was given to the Lancashire Defibrillator Campaign through the Peter Lathom charity.
An initial 10 members of the pastors group will be trained as Community First Responders by the North West Ambulance Service.
The pastors hope to have one responder in each group they send out on patrol in the town. It means that, during the weekend patrols, the trained responder will be alerted by the ambulance service to 999 calls in the area and will be first on the scene – potentially saving crucial time in getting the defibrillator equipment to a patient in need.
It is hoped the scheme could be rolled out to other pastors teams around the country if it is a success.
Dave Mutch, co-ordinator of Ormskirk Street Pastors, said: “We are on the streets to listen to people, care for people and help people. This fits in very well with that.
“We have already come across incidents where people need first aid, are unconscious or need ambulance treatment.
“Hopefully we won’t have to use this piece of equipment, but you never know. We will be on the streets already and can respond straight away should a call come in to the ambulance service.”
The pastors, which began patrols in January, 2011, expanded to Saturday nights in November.
Dave said: “We are all representatives of Christ from local churches trying to make a difference. It’s been fantastic really, the reception we have received on the streets has been excellent – with people out and about as well as the pub and club owners.”
Former mayoress Sue Murrin-Bailey, who set up the Lancashire Defibrillator campaign last year, said: “The Peter Lathom charity had allocated this money for a good cause in the Ormskirk area.
“I think we are the first in the country to do this with a street pastor team – training them as first responders.
“It’s amazing, it means every Friday and Saturday people are out there that can respond straight away.
“The statistics say you need to get [defibrillation and CPR] to a casualty within four minutes and the pastors having this equipment could make all the difference.”