RESIDENTS took part in Harwich’s first free defibrillator training day.

Harwich Town Council funded three training sessions on Friday, which saw participants learn lifesaving techniques such as checking the airways, the recovery position and CPR as well as how to use a defibrillator.

Lucy Ballard, town clerk, said: “Overall 50 people were successfully trained over three sessions.

“We’ve had some really positive feedback already from participants, saying they found it informative and a really useful skill to have.

“As far as I’m concerned, this was a real success.”

Mayor Charlie Powell took part after feeling concerned about using defibrillators, stationed in public places around the town, if it was needed.

He said: “The course was fantastic and I would have no problems in using one now. I was worried about the idea of giving someone an electric shock and knowing if that was the right thing to do.

“But the machine takes over and does a test on the patient first.

“It won’t let you do it if it shouldn’t be done.”

Mr Powell said the courses came after the town council clerk came up with the idea of holding a course and councillors agreed to fund it.

He added: “It was worth every penny it cost us as a council and we are thinking of doing another one.”

Defibrillators were installed across Harwich, and are maintained, by the Harwich Fellowship for the Sick and are regularly checked by the First Responders.