Patients who have a cardiac arrest in Penrith will now have a greater chance of survival after six new community access defibrillators have been installed in the town.
A £5,000 grant was presented to North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Charitable Fund from Penrith Town Council which has been combined with an additional £4,000 from the charitible fund to be spent on the life-saving machines that have now been strategically placed across the town.
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood round the body causing the patient to fall unconscious and stop breathing.
This can sometimes be corrected by giving an electric shock through the chest wall, by using a device called a defibrillator. This can be done by a member of the public (using a public access defibrillator), the emergency services or at hospital.
Immediate CPR will keep oxygen circulating around the body until a defibrillator can be used and/or until the emergency services arrive.
Lauren Watson, Chain of Survival Coordinator for NWAS said: “It’s really important that people in the community know what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest. Every single second counts so it’s vital that life-saving CPR and defibrillation starts even before the ambulance service has chance to get there.
“Community public access defibrillators (CPADs) are housed in public places such as phone boxes or wall cabinets and when they are required a 999 call operator will direct the caller to the nearest available one.
“Anybody can use a CPAD as the machine will explain what to do and will only supply a shock if it detects a shockable rhythm in the heart.”
Penrith currently has 21 CPADs around the town which are listed by NWAS and therefore available to be used in case of emergency.
Lauren continues: “All community accessible defibrillators should be reported to North West Ambulance Service so that it can be logged on our system and our emergency medical dispatchers can advise callers of its location if need be.”
Anyone looking to purchase a defibrillator or is interested in training sessions in Cumbria should contact NWAS by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Scott Jackson. Mayor of Penrith, said: “Penrith Town Council is delighted to support North West Ambulance Services Charitable Fund, Cardiac Smart project, with £5,000 of grant funding to purchase three defibrillators.
“They have been installed and registered on the NWAS emergency control room database, which after a 999 call will enable the ambulance service to direct members of the public to the closest defibrillator.
“The Town Council valued the aim of the project which is to have registered up to date and maintained defibrillators though out the town within 10 minutes walking distance.
“Defibrillators are often placed by well-meaning groups, however, the ambulance service must have a record of these so they are able to direct people to them therefore it’s really important that NWAS are made aware.”