Joe Hughes, a Paramedic Team Leader based on Islay, launched the fundraising drive in 2016 and has since completed two sea kayak journeys around the island.
The first kayak trek was from Bowmore to Bowmore, about 110km Joseph estimated, and the second one covered about 145km.
He said: “I started to raise funds for public access defibrillators in 2016. The main fund raising event was a continuous sea kayak paddle around the Isle of Islay, from Bowmore to Bowmore - this was planned for 2017, but due to poor weather over that year the challenge did not take place due to safety concerns.
“However, we did it in 2018; two attempts were undertaken, the first seeing us do 20 hours and cover 110K. I was also joined by Alek Skwarek from the Air Ambulance Service, based at Glasgow, and two retired GPs who came on at stages on this attempt to provide company.”
Joe said the second attempt took place a few weeks later, adding: “I was joined by a sea kayaker, John Paschke, from Ayr.
“We covered 145K in 27 hours, which included some of the most treacherous and inaccessible waters on the west coast of Scotland.”
Joe said more than £12,000 was raised for seven new PADs for Islay; four are for public access, two went to Police Scotland to be installed on vehicles, and one was donated to the MacTaggart Leisure entre.
The paramedic added: “We also bought four new QCPR manikins with skill meters, upgraded five others to QCPR, including a defib trainer. I have been carrying out Heartstart training with the public on the islands of Islay and Jura over the couple of weeks and to-date we have trained over 150 people, with the same number again waiting to be trained.”
Joe recently handed over the defibs to Police Scotland’s Sgt Morag Stirling and PC Lynne Easton. The Force has been trained in the use of defibs.
Sergeant Morag Stirling, from Bowmore Police, said: “We want to thank Joe for his time and dedication which has ensured that seven defibrillators are now of easy access to the community on Islay.
“His selflessness and determination has ensured that not only do we have this vital equipment, but that a large number of people on the island are trained to use it.
“Two of these are installed in our vehicles on the island which means our trained officers will be able to respond and assist in this crucial first aid when needed.
“It is important that all emergency services work together to keep people safe in our communities.”
Anne Harrison, the Scottish Ambulance Service’s Community Resilience Team Leader for the West, said: “Public Access Defibrillators (PAD) are vital life-saving devices which are located across the country – they are safe and easy to use and can potentially save someone’s life.
“When someone rings 999 one of our call takers will ask a series of questions to determine the priority of the call and give any additional advice that may be required while the crew are on their way.
“During this process the call taker will be able to determine if a patient is in cardiac arrest and will then advise the caller how to perform CPR.
“Once someone at the scene has started CPR, the call taker will be able to direct the caller to the nearest PAD – if there is one - registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service recommends all custodians register their PADs at https://pad.scottishambulance.com to ensure that they are available to save lives in an emergency.