Call for more life-saving community public access defibrillators (CPAD) to be put into Norfolk’s towns and villages
A major drive is being launched to get more life-saving equipment in the towns and villages of north Norfolk.
Community public access defibrillators, which hang in boxes on high street walls, can kick start the hearts of cardiac arrest victims.
They can be operated by local trained volunteers, or any member of the public, and have a track record of saving people's lives by providing help on the doorstep before the paramedics arrive.
Now, following the installation of the latest one at Mundesley, an ambulance chief has urged more communities to buy and install the �1,800 machines.
Chief executive officer of the East of England Ambulance Service Hayden Newton, who is a former paramedic, said: 'We know early defibrillation saves lives. We need more people to back the defib campaign.'
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The Mundesley defibrillator will be maintained by the ambulance service's community first responder (CFR) group in the village, which has also trained locals how to use it.
First responders are trained volunteers who are dispatched to some 999 calls, such as cardiac arrests, in their own community at the same time as an ambulance crew. Because they live closer they can get there a few minutes quicker – minutes which could prove the difference between life and death.
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But anyone making a 999 call to help an urgent cardiac patient will be told where the nearest public debrillator is, a code to access the box – and the machine guides the user, even a layman, on what to do.
Following a cardiac arrest the chance of survival decreases by 23pc every minute. The use of a defibrillator – which shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm – can increase a cardiac patient's survival rate to 74pc.
The public machines complement the defibrillators in busy places such as sports centres, schools and supermarkets, which can be used by anyone but will have on-site staff specifically trained to use them.
Mr Newton said they were keen to get more equipment and life-saving teams across the district.
'We know the population is ageing more so there will be a greater need for defibs in the future.
'We need to expand the scheme and the next stage is to get more groups involved with the defib training, especially young people,' he said.
Andrew Barlow, community partnership manager for the ambulance service, said it did not have the money to buy public defibrillators but would support any groups who wanted to raise funds to have a CPAD in their area.
'In the more rural parts of the county there is a need because you can't have an ambulance on every street corner. These parts of the county would benefit - especially in the holiday season where the population trebles.'
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb unveiled the new machine in Mundesley, which is housed outside Howard Page Estate Agents in High Street, and was funded by Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat.
? To find out more information about helping to provide a public defibrillator or how to become a first responder call 01767 600822 or 01603 481220, or email a request for information to firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information about community defibrillators visit www.communityheartbeat.org.uk
? Have you been saved by a CPAD or experienced help from a CFR group? The North Norfolk News would like to hear your story. Please call reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01263 513160 or email email@example.com.