FREE first aid training is being given to help people use lifesaving equipment now available in the community.

Two new defibrillators, which can restart the heart when someone is in cardiac arrest, have been installed outside pubs in the Chester-le-Street area.

Professional training will be given later this month by the North East Ambulance Service and could mean the difference between life and death.

Sessions will be held at The Garden Farm pub on January 21 and The Whitehills, in Waldridge, the following day, between 6pm and 8pm.

The defibrillators were installed before Christmas and the training sessions are the culmination of 14 months work by Durham County Councillors Paul Sexton and Allan Bainbridge.

Councillor Sexton said: “We have got these defibrillators and are holding these training sessions so we are hoping to get the community involved and want people to come along. There are still spaces available.”

Community police officers have already visited The Hermitage Academy and Park View Community School to educate youngsters about the importance of the equipment to reduce the risk of them being vandalised or damaged.

Cllr Bainbridge said: “If any children would like to come along to the training sessions then they are more than welcome.

“It is ideal because they are out and about in Chester-le-Street so it makes sense that they should be trained how to use them.”

The equipment, worth £3,600, was bought using the councillors’ neighbourhood budget and a donation from Garden Farm and West Lane Residents Association.

Chairman John Maddison said: “We want local young people to feel empowered so they know how to use them. We also want them to be aware it could be their mams or dads or grandparents who might come to need the use of them.”

There are also defibrillators at Chester-le-Street Cricket Club, The Boxing Club at Chester Moor and Walridge Parish Rooms.

Councillor Sexton added: “We hope they will never ever be needed but it is good to know they are there to be used in an emergency.”

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