Frome has been acknowledged as the first town in the country to develop and install a ‘community-wide network’ of public access automated external defibrillators (AED) for use in cardiac arrest situations.
For the last few months The Friends of Frome Hospital has been negotiating the placement of the latest high-technology AEDs in the town and the installation of the planned fifteen defibrillators at strategic locations across the community is now almost complete.
The reasoning behind the initiative is that sudden cardiac arrest accounts for around 100,000 deaths in the UK each year of which 60,000 occur in the home, at work or when out-and-about. Having numerous public access defibrillators across the town means there will always be one nearby in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) Community Responder Officer, Kim Morrissey, said: “The first few minutes of a cardiac arrest are absolutely critical so access to a defibrillator means life-saving care can begin while the ambulance is on its way.
“Cardiac arrest does not discriminate against age, sex or fitness – it can happen to anyone at any time.
“The Friends of Frome Hospital has worked tirelessly on this initiative which will ultimately benefit residents and visitors to the area.”
Public access defibrillators are easy to use and come with step-by-step instructions. They cannot be used in error and the patient can be given life-saving treatment by anyone in the vicinity whilst the ambulance is on its way.
In support of this initiative, a Public Awareness Session is being held at the Cheese and Grain by the Friends of Frome Hospital, in conjunction with SWASFT, from 9am to 1pm, on Saturday 30 August 2014. Demonstrations on how to access and use the AEDs will be carried out by specialist community responders from the ambulance service throughout the morning.
This further accolade for the Friends of Frome Hospital Community Defibrillator Project has come from the Arrhythmia Alliance, the lead cardiac support charity who has now championed the installation of over 500 AEDs nationwide.
Arrhythmia Alliance Founder and Trustee, Trudie Lobban MBE said, “Arrhythmia Alliance welcomes the support of the people of Frome in the much needed placement of fifteen public-access defibrillators for use by all the community in the event of an emergency. Members of the Friends of Frome Hospital Community Defibrillator Project have played an instrumental role in supporting the placement of this life-saving equipment and their work should be highly commended.
“Frome is the first to initiate a ‘network’ strategy to make available public accessible life-saving defibrillators across their community, and it would be rewarding if other communities could develop a similar strategy.
“Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at anytime, and is the UK’s biggest killer, killing more people than breast cancer, lung cancer and Aids combined”
Friends of Frome Hospital Community Defibrillator Project Leader, Derek Trick, added: “The Friends make the appeal for as many people as possible to come along and see for themselves on how the easy-to-use equipment can be utilised in an unexpected emergency situation. It is so important that the more people who understand and appreciate the urgency of managing a cardiac trauma situation, and the more people who are aware of the basic actions to take in that emergency, the better the chance of saving a life.
“Taking a few minutes instruction at our Public Awareness Session and the ready availability of the AEDs around the town will have benefits for everyone”
You can find out where defibrillators are placed around Frome here.