The West Midlands’ (UK) newest community fire station, Haden Cross, officially launched its community-funded defibrillator on 15th December 2014.
The defibrillator, which will be accessible to members of the public around the clock, will be a permanent feature outside the main entrance to the station. It will be stored in a keypad cabinet, the code to which will be available by speaking to the ambulance service’s control room via 999. Immediate defibrillation of a patient following cardiac arrest can increase their survival rate by as much as 80 per cent.
The procurement of the defibrillator, cabinet and a training defibrillator has been a joint venture between members of the community (proceeds from the fire station’s open day), The Charlotte and Craig Saving Hearts Foundation (CCSHF), previously known as Redditch Heart Safe, and WEL Medical.
Following the death of two children aged just 16 and 17 from heart-related illnesses, Robert Underwood and Maggie Prentice-Underwood set up CCSHF and now devote their lives to raising awareness of heart issues and raising funds to provide defibrillators to schools and other community venues.
Robert said: ““We are passionate about the placement of defibrillators, and firmly believe they should be everywhere people gather, just like fire extinguishers. We have now placed over 50 defibrillators in schools and public places since the loss of our children, in a mission to save the lives of others.
“We have recently changed the name of our charity from Redditch Heart Safe to the Charlotte and Craig Saving Hearts Foundation, putting the reason behind our mission at the core of what we do. We welcome opportunities such as this and are delighted to be able to offer our support to make this community safer.”
Ian Pearse from WEL Medical said: “We are delighted to be a part of this project to make the community a safer place to be. It is fantastic that West Midlands Fire Service are playing another role in saving lives by agreeing to have a public access defibrillator at Haden Cross. We take great pride in what we do and are very privileged to be able to support the fantastic efforts of Rob and Maggie.”
Marc Hudson, Station Commander at Haden Cross, added: “We decided to use the official opening of Haden Cross community fire station to raise funds to place a defibrillator right at the heart of the community it serves. Although we didn’t quite hit our target; CCSHF and WEL Medical came to our rescue and funded the remainder. This is a great asset to the local community and can be accessed at the time when people need it the most.”
Staff from Haden Cross will be offering training sessions on CPR and the use of the defibrillators to members of the public and local business, to further raise awareness of the benefits of early use of a defibrillator. To book a place at one of the sessions, please call 0121 380 7070
Photographs courtesy of Dave Donnelly