Just two defibrillators available 24/7 in Norwich city centre, figures reveal
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
They are vital pieces of equipment which help save hundreds of lives each year.
But new figures show that only two Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPAD) are available 24/7 in Norwich city centre.
And now the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) and other charitable organisations are calling for more to be bought.
The equipment can be used by anyone and sends a high energy electric shock to restore the heart's rhythm when it stops.
With every minute defibrillation is delayed, a person's chance of survival following a cardiac arrest falls by around seven to 10pc.
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Martin Durrant-Pratt, 46, from Stalham, knows all too well the importance of defibrillators after his late wife was saved by one in 2010.
He founded the JDP Defibrillator Fund two years later, and has so far paid for four CPADS to be installed around Norfolk.
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'The equipment saves people's lives, it's as simple as that,' the father-of-two said. 'There should be more in Norwich because there is a lot of people in the city centre.
'I know that a lot of shops have them, but if someone is struggling on the street one evening [when the shops are closed] then there could be a problem.'
The ambulance service stressed there were many more Public Access Defibrillators (PADS) in the city centre. But these are not necessarily accessible 24 hours a day, and are usually kept inside leisure centres, shops or businesses.
It means that once businesses close for the day, there are far fewer available for the public to use in an emergency.
Mr Durrant-Pratt said he was aiming to start fundraising again later this year and would focus on buying equipment for the city centre.
The latest figures from the ambulance trust show there are 286 CPADS and 340 PADS across the county.
A spokesman said: 'There are already more than 620 defibrillators publically available across Norfolk, but we will always support more being installed as we see the very real difference they make to people's lives.'
People wishing to know more about getting a CPAD installed should contact email@example.com
How defibrillators work?
Since April last year, automated external defibrillators have been assigned to more than 30,700 999 calls - 5,458 of which were in Norfolk.
The equipment plays a vital role in saving people's lives, and works through sending an electric shock to restore the heart's normal rhythm.
Unlike public access defibrillators, CPADS are accessible 24 hours a day and are housed in bright yellow cabinets.
In the event of an emergency where a defibrillator is needed, 999 call handlers can direct an individual to the nearest CPAD site.
A key code will then be given to enable the person to access the cabinet and begin defibrillation.
The ambulance service said communities wishing to buy their own CPAD will have to budget around £2,000.
The equipment is easy to use, provides step-by-step instructions for the user, and won't administer a shock unless it is safe to do so.
Communities rallies to buy new defibrillator
A great grandmother was supported by pub customers and local businesses to buy a defibrillator for the community on Plumstead Road, near Norwich.
Jilly Cutting, from Sprowston, decided to try and raise money for the equipment after hearing how a defibrillator could have helped save a friend. Following a fundraising event at the Windmill Pub, on Knox Road, and further support from local businesses, she managed to raise £1,645 for the CPAD.
She said: 'I wanted to do it because we had two deaths in the family and amongst friends, and a couple of people said if had been a defibrillator it could have helped.
'I could not believe that people were so generous.'
Staff and customers at the Windmill helped donate £1,400 for the equipment, while a further £200 was donated by Archer's Butchers. The defibrillator was installed on the wall of Budgens Supermarket on Plumstead Road.
The JDP Defibrillator fund
Martin Durrant-Pratt set up the JDP Defibrillator Fund following the death of his wife, Janyne.
She died just one-day before her 41st birthday at Papworth Hospital in 2012 following a long battle with a heart condition.
Mrs Durrant-Pratt had been a passionate supporter of a campaign to have more defibrillators in public places after a Frettenham Primary School teacher used one to save her life in November 2010, when she had a cardiac arrest.
Following her death, Mr Durrant-Pratt made it his aim to raise money to purchase defibrillators for the community.
'It is still difficult for the kids and myself,' he said.
'But if we can save one life with a defibrillator, then every single one [we have purchased] will be worthwhile.'
So far he has helped buy CPADs for schools and community buildings in areas including Mulbarton, Coltishall and Frettenham.
• Has your life been saved by a defibrillator? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684