Two Norfolk MPs have hailed the roll-out of 100 defibrillators in rural locations across the region as a potential life-saver.

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The East of England Co-operative Society is working with the East of England Ambulance Service to provide 24-hour access to a defibrillator providing a potentially life-saving service to rural communities across East Anglia.

Some of the defibrillators will be sited on society premises, and they could be in place by the end of the year.

When a call is made to the emergency services, if there is more than one person with the casualty, the caller will be directed to the nearest defibrillator. An access code and guidance will be given over the phone by the 999 operator on how to use the equipment.

Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South, said: “I am excited to hear of the new initiative the Co-op is launching. It is great to see a retailer providing a service not only to its members and customers, but a service which is available to all members of the community.”

The project has also been welcomed by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who said: “I’m pleased to hear that the East of England Co-operative Society is working together with the ambulance service in this way, to help provide these potentially life-saving machines. This is a great initiative and it is good to see these two organisations working together in this way.

“Community groups and community first responders in north Norfolk have made efforts to have defibrillators installed because they know the difference they can make if someone has a heart attack, particularly in rural areas such as ours.

“I have written to the Co-operative Society emphasising the need for these in rural north Norfolk. When someone has a heart attack every minute counts and in more isolated locations this equipment can make all the difference.”

The new partnership project was launched at Ipswich Town Football Club yesterday.

Roger Grosvenor, executive officer – retail, East of England Co-operative Society, said: “In many instances our stores are the only one in the village, a landmark which will make it easier to find the equipment.

“This will be of enormous benefit in helping to preserve life, especially in rural communities which are harder to reach by ambulance during the critical first four minutes.”

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