Defibrillators being deployed more often during Covid
PUBLISHED: 16:50 19 November 2020 | UPDATED: 16:50 19 November 2020
New life-saving equipment has been installed at two more venues in Lowestoft.
And the need for defibrillators has never been greater, according to a charity that has placed more than 200 public 24/7 devices across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Jayne Biggs, of the ‘Heart 2 Heart (Norfolk)’ charity, said that the heartbeat restoring devices are being taken to more emergencies than ever amid the continuing conronavirus crisis.
Mrs Biggs said: “This is often one of the first actions suggested to people calling 999 to report a patient with breathing difficulties.
“The caller will be asked to fetch the nearest defibrillator and they are being taken out more often during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Recently, in our area, five were taken out in just one weekend and although they were not all used, they were there as a precaution should the patient’s condition deteriorate.”
For the past few years Mrs Biggs, from Bradwell, has ensured people across the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas have access to a defibrillator – a device which saved the life of her daughter Violet after she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest when she was seven.
Having set up Heart 2 Heart Norfolk in 2016, funds have been raised to install defibrillators in schools, clubs and public places across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Speaking at the installation of the latest defibrillator on the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate, after Zoiyar Cole had funded the provision of the latest life-saving device on the wall of Pete’s Plastics in Pinbush Road, Mrs Biggs said: “This is the fifth defibrillator we have bought for the town. “The site was chosen as there are not too many similar devices in the area and this is the only one on this part of the estate.”
With the business owner a long time supporter of Mrs Cole and her fundraising, Zoiyar Cole said: “The money was raised during January and February this year by knocking on doors of local businesses and through their generous donations, with the £1,500 cost of the equipment raised.”
Mrs Biggs said: “Our ‘Heart 2 Heart’ charity shop has been shut since March 13 as the Covid precautious are too onerous for us to open.
“It is not worth the risk to our elderly volunteers.
“Also despite being the Mayor of Great Yarmouth’s chosen charity for second year running, we have been unable to organise any events during the pandemic so have had little income.
“Thus we are more reliant on generous supporters like Zoiyar.
“Nevertheless we have provided five defibrillators during lockdown from fundraising money previously collected.”
Another public 24/7 defibrillator has also been fitted outside the Aldi store in Millennium Way, Lowestoft, thanks to East Suffolk councillor Linda Coulam, who used her councillor’s budget to fund the life-saving device.
Mrs Biggs said: “Linda deserves credit for getting this installed and to be an asset to the local community.
“We also say a big thank you to the management and staff of Aldi for being so helpful and getting this passed so quickly.
“Also another big thank you goes to Paul Botson of PCB Electrical Contractors Ltd in Lowestoft for installing this cabinet, free of charge in his own time, which wasn’t an easy installation.”
Stressing the importance of maintaining the public defibrillators, Mrs Biggs said: “I clean the cabinet, spray the keypad with WD40 and replace pads as necessary.
“For example I put new pads into the public defibrillator at Jesters Diner in Lowestoft, which I donated two years ago, as the pads where due to expire on November 28.
“The pads last two years.
“I also did the same at Sparrow’s Nest, which I also donated two years ago, so it also needed new pads.
“There would be nothing worse to access a public defibrillator and finding out it could not be used in an emergency situation.
“This is why I replaced the cabinet and defibrillator at St Mark’s Church in Oulton Broad.
“It was donated previously, then the cabinet broke and the defibrillator needed attention - so I donated a new cabinet and defibrillator to them.
“Our charity will also cover it for eight years with new pads and batteries.”
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