altTwo bingo halls in the Greater Manchester area have been kitted out, under doctor’s orders (number 9), with two life-saving defibrillator machines which could make all the difference between staying alive (number 85) and ending up at the gateway to heaven (number 27.)

Members of Cosmo in Eccles and Stalybridge can now play safe in the knowledge that if they get too excited about winning a full house, club staff can help keep them stable until the paramedics arrive. Heart machines (medically referred to as defibrillators) have been installed in both bingo halls, and employees have been fully-trained in how to operate them by the North West Ambulance Service. They've also been briefed on how to perform CPR, and how to recognise the warning signs of an impending heart-attack.

These clever machines use special pads, which are attached to the patient’s chest, to monitor heart activity, and apply an electric shock if an abnormal or non-existing heart rate is found. When used quickly, defibrillators can increase a patient's chance of survival from 3% to 50%.

The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is planning to extend the rollout to provide this vital equipment in more public places, such as community and leisure centres. NWAS’ Resuscitation Development Manager, Steve Nicholls, emphasised the fact that in a cardiac arrest situation, “every minute really does count.” He also stated that as the Stalybridge branch attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year, many of whom are in an age group that is prone to heart problems, it’s “a very good place to have defibrillator.”

A survey of the club’s players revealed that most members welcomed the new equipment, saying things like, “it’ll save lives,” and that “it's reassuring to have them here. They should have them in more places.”

Sadly, every six minutes, someone in the UK dies from a heart-attack, and of the 146,000 people who experience them every year, 94,000 of them die. We applaud the introduction of this new scheme, and hope it will save just one bingo-lover from becoming just another statistic.

Would you like to see more life-saving medical equipment being installed in your local bingo hall? Have you ever experienced health issues, or seen another player experiencing difficulties, whilst playing games and if so, what did the staff do about it? Do you think that all club employees should hold a minimum of a first-aid certificate to be able to deal with any medical emergencies which might arise?