Thanks to generous donations received from the local council, community groups, local businesses and individuals, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCAS) Crowthorne Community First Responder (CFR) Scheme has donated three new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to Crowthorne village in Berkshire.
The latest AEDs – which bring the total donated by the Crowthorne CFRs to seven – have been installed at Wildmoor Heath School, Crowthorne Church of England School and Tesco, Greenwood Road. The AEDs at Wildmoor Health and Crowthorne C of E Schools are available to the school and the general public during school hours, as well as being available to the many groups who use each of the school’s facilities in the evening and weekends. The AED at the local Tesco is available during the shop’s opening hours of 6am – 10pm, seven days a week.
Mr. Grant Strudley, Headteacher at Wildmoor Heath School, said:
“I am pleased that we are able to support both the Crowthorne Community First Responder Scheme and our local community by hosting an AED at the school.”
Within the South Central region, SCAS attends on average five patients every day who are either in cardiac arrest or suffering a heart attack. For every minute that passes without CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation or chest compressions) and defibrillation starting on a person in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival reduce by 10%.
Professor Charles Deakin, Consultant Cardiologist and Associate Medical Director for SCAS said:
“One of the big worries of people giving first aid and chest compressions to someone who has collapsed and is not breathing is that it might harm the patient, but actually it’s a very safe thing to do and it’s not possible to make the situation any worse.
“Anyone can use a defibrillator – you don’t need to be medically trained – as once the device is open, it provides voice commands to tell you exactly what you need to so. Even if you aren’t an expert in giving chest compressions, it’s been shown from studies that you can at least double if not treble someone’s chances of survival by having a go at giving chest compressions.”
The donation of the three new AEDs from Crowthorne CFRs is the latest development in SCAS’ Start a Heart campaign which is designed to increase the chances of people in our region surviving a heart attack or cardiac arrest by ensuring members of the public know what to do in such emergencies, namely:
- Always dialing 999 first
- Checking if someone is breathing
- If not breathing, starting CPR immediately
- If more than one person with the patient, send someone to get an AED from nearby if available whilst the other person continues CPR
- Keep performing CPR until help arrives
David Hamer, Community Liaison and Training Officer for SCAS, said:
“I am very pleased that we have managed to donate an additional three AEDS in the Crowthorne at two local schools and the local Tesco. Sudden cardiac arrest can affect people of any age and whilst I hope that the three devices are never used, it will be reassuring to everyone in the local community, both young and old, that more of these life-saving pieces of equipment are available if needed.”
SCAS is currently appealing for more people in Berkshire to volunteer as community first responders and make a life-saving difference to their local community. Volunteers would need to be able to offer a minimum of 20 hours cover in their local community per month. The exact time is completely flexible for each individual volunteer according to the existing work, family and other commitments volunteers have and does not need to be planned rigidly in advance. Volunteers can ‘book on’ and ‘book off’ if, for example, their plans change unexpectedly.