Search and rescue charity calling for public to back new defibrillator appeal
- Credit: Sophie Wyllie
It could be the difference between life and death for some cardiac arrest sufferers.
And a search and rescue charity has launched a major fundraising campaign to pay for 10 defibrillators to be used around the county.
Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NORLSAR), which receives no statutory funding and relies on a team of 69 volunteers, wants to raise £9,500 for 10 automated external defibrillators.
It currently has two portable defibrillators on two of its response vehicles but they are too big and need to be replaced.
The charity hopes that three of the new smaller defibrillators, costing up to £3,500, would be used in their three main vehicles used on searches, and seven, costing up to £6,000, would be used by NORLSAR first responders who live around Norfolk.
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These community volunteers will be linked up to the GoodSAM App, used by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, where community first responders are alerted to a patient experiencing a cardiac arrest and need CPR.
Paramedic Nick Ball, 32, from Attleborough, NORLSAR clinical lead, said: "Defibrillators are really important. Having a defibrillator close by ensures a 40-50pc increase in survival rate which is quite significant. It is effective in a certain cohort of patients who need a defibrillator. They make a difference."
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He added the first five minutes were vital in terms of treating someone experiencing a cardiac arrest.
Mr Ball said that NORLSAR volunteers would come across people needing a defibrillator and they were also used on some vulnerable people found by the volunteers.
He said defibrillators were simple to use and it was fantastic that many communities had publicly-accessible defibrillators but many people were scared to use them.
NORLSAR was set up 25 years ago and mainly helps other emergency services look for missing vulnerable people on land and in water, excluding the coast.
It costs £15,000 a year to run, in terms of its equipment, and in 2018 its volunteers spent 9,357 hours on 32 call-outs.