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14 August 2013
Defibrillator at Clapham

A unique local initiative has resulted in Clapham receiving a special emergency pack for cardiac arrests.

The defibrillator, which has been installed at the front of the Village Hall, is one of 40 of the new emergency life saving packs being installed in public locations across Bedfordshire, as a result of the partnership between Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Bedford Borough Council.

Every year, many people in Bedfordshire will suffer from cardiac arrest, and some will sadly die because they could not be treated quickly enough. Statistics show that whilst CPR can be effective, swift access to defibrillators is a significant factor in helping more people to survive a heart attack.

The project was initiated by Bedfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller, who said: “This may seem to be outside of the usual remit of the Fire and Rescue Service, but we are an organisation that is committed to doing what we can to save lives, and I believe that more lives will be saved by installing public access defibrillators where they are most needed.”

The initiative is being jointly funded by Bedford Borough Council (£50k) and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (£30k), who will meet the costs of purchasing and installing the defibrillators, and fund the first 7 years maintenance. Subsequently, the defibrillator will be funded by the Parish Council. The East of England Ambulance Service has also supported the initiative, helping to identify the most suitable locations for the defibrillators, which are being installed in accessible locations for the public (village halls, community centres, former telephone kiosks, and the front of fire stations).

The defibrillators will be key-locked for security, with access given to the public by the Ambulance Control operators only on receipt of an appropriate 999 call. Ambulance crews will also be despatched to the scene.

Whilst no training is required to use for using the defibrillators (the units that have been purchased will have voice commands that guide the user, telling them what to do and when) Fire and Rescue Service personnel are carrying out awareness sessions for local communities where defibrillators are installed. Please look out for details.

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