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Life-saving scheme reaches to the depths of Welsh heritage!

A new lifesaving scheme deep in the heart of Wales’ leading mining museum is providing the Welsh Ambulance Service with an accolade of a different kind.

Following on from the installation of a Public Access Defibrillator Scheme (PADS) on the top of Snowdon in 2010, this year the Trust has extended its lifesaving scheme hundreds of feet below the ground.

The Welsh Ambulance Service joined forces with staff at the Big Pit:National Coal Museum to install a new PADS site

Welsh Ambulance Service National PADs manager Gerard Rothwell donned the famous helmet and lamp to journey to the deep to launch the new site alongside Senior Deputy, Paul Green.

The site is an award-winning national museum that still retains many traits of its former role as a coal mine, standing high on the heather-clad moors of Blaenafon, the tunnels and buildings that once echoed to the sound of the miners.

It includes a famous trip 90 metres down the shaft to explore working conditions underground, and this is where the Welsh Ambulance Service lifesaving scheme will be sited.

PADs allow staff at the museum to utilise their defibrillator to help people facing a cardiac arrest. The machines are made easily accessible to the team members, in the same way life belts are around public swimming areas.

The Trust has trained over 4000 volunteers across Wales to man PADs sites across the country, stationed in places such as railway stations, leisure centres and even on top of Snowdon. Staff work in partnership with other organisations to provide equipment and training.

Each of the Big Pit staff volunteers undertook four hours training to allow them to use the electric shock life saving machine and also administer basic life support skills.

Gerard Rothwell explained: “Last year we stood on the top of Snowdon launching a PADS site, now we have stood deep underground in Wales to launch this one, but the intent is the same, these sites save lives and we are very proud to have worked with staff here to make this one happen.

“We are always looking to put these sites in places that see big footfalls, however high up or deep underground! I am proud to say that staff here have worked hard through training and they will be ready to help someone in need.”

Paul Green, Senior Deputy at Big Pit added: “We have nearly 160,000 visitors to Big Pit every year and having the defib underground gives the staff and visitors added peace of mind.  This is the first time that a defibrillator has been housed underground in a coalmine in the UK, and we are proud to have worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service and the Mines Inspectorate to achieve this and provide this safeguard for the public.”