A life-saving defibrillator is being installed at a busy charity-run centre for adults with disabilities – but could also be a vital emergency aid for the passing public, including allotment holders and leisure sailors.
It is stationed at Centre 81 in Great Yarmouth, which enriches the lives of 75 members through a programme of skills and activities.
The kit has been donated by the British Heart Foundation because it will be an important lifesaving asset at the Centre – but also in the wider community.
The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) delivers an electrical shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm during a sudden cardiac arrest.
It could be used to save the lives of the Tar Works Road complex’s members, carers, staff and volunteers – but also people tending 180 nearby allotments and more than 30,000 using the local yacht station.
Centre 81 chief executive officer Diana Staines said: “We are doing this for the Centre members, carers and staff – but also for the community which we like to support, because it supports us.”
The defibrillator is housed in a cabinet outside Centre 81’s main activities building.
Centre 81 will be training members of the community in life-saving techniques as part of the project supported by the BHF, which is keen to improve the 1-in-10 survival rate for the 30,000 sudden cardiac arrests that happen outside of hospitals each year in the UK.
BHF’s head of survival Sara Askew said: “More lives could be saved if more defibrillators were available in public places and if more people felt confident using them and performing CPR.
“We are delighted that Centre 81 have joined the BHF’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign – by making another defibrillator available at Great Yarmouth and teaching CPR locally. It could really be the difference between life and death.”
Broads Authority visitor services supervisor Sam Bates, who oversees the yacht station, said staff at Yarmouth were available to help people, occasionally in difficult situations. “Having this equipment so close will help them react and give assistance in an emergency – though of course we hope we never have to use it.”
Allotment association treasurer Janet MacDonald added: “Our members tend to be older people and the retired, so we welcome this initiative which could save one of their lives.”
Find out more about community defibrillators at www.bhf.org.uk.