Vera Rider, Pat Brown, Babs Driscoll and Bob Harding

Ambulance service registers 500th community defibrillator

The 500th public access defibrillator in the region has now been installed outside a community centre in Redcar.

Part funded by the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund, the 500th community defibrillator is now located on the outside of the Gleneagles Centre to help save lives of those in cardiac arrest.

A community defibrillator offers lifesaving treatment to someone in cardiac arrest and increases a patient’s chance of survival if there is access to one. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops and a defibrillator is needed to restart the heart.

As well as being a community centre that is open to all ages and abilities, the Gleneagles Centre is surrounded by elderly resident’s bungalows. Volunteers and staff there were inspired to have a defibrillator installed after they heard of the death of a 35 year-old local man who did not survive a cardiac arrest.

Vera Rider, Pat Brown, Babs Driscoll and Bob Harding were all involved in raising money to apply for a community access defibrillator to offer their community a lifesaving opportunity.

The defibrillator is located in a cabinet on the outside of the building so that it can be easily accessed by members of the public by calling 999 for the access code.

The ambulance service has recognised areas throughout the region where a community defibrillator would be beneficial and recently launched a campaign to increase the number of community defibrillators across the region.

Community development officer Alex Mason said, “Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. Someone starting CPR will buy time by keeping vital organs supplied with blood and oxygen, but a defibrillator is needed to try to restart the heart.

“It is very unlikely to restart the heart on its own without a defibrillator and access to one in the first few minutes can give the best chance of getting the heart back into a normal rhythm. For every minute that passes without defibrillation, the chance of surviving decreases by 7-10 per cent per minute.”

If you are interested in applying for a community defibrillator, you can find out if your post code area is eligible for funding from the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund by following this link: /our-services/community-defibrillators/funding-opportunities.aspx

You can find out more about the importance of CPR, community defibrillators and to also find your nearest defibrillator by following this link: /our-services/community-defibrillators.aspx

If someone is unconscious and not breathing normally:

  • Call 999, and ask for an ambulance.
  • Start CPR – press down 5-6cm in the middle of the chest, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (approx. 2 per second).   If you are untrained, or unable to give mouth to mouth (rescue breaths), give continuous compressions.   Otherwise, give 30 compressions then two rescue breaths, and continue doing this.
  • If there is a defibrillator nearby (the ambulance call handler will tell you if there is one close), ask someone to fetch it, turn it on, and follow its instructions.
  • Carry on with CPR, and the defibrillator will re-analyse the rhythm every two minutes.   Keep going until:
    • The person shows signs of recovery
    • Help arrives and takes over
    • You are too tired to continue

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