Life-saving boost for communities to improve cardiac arrest survival rates

A defibrillator is installed outside Hoyland Ambulance Station.

Thirty-three life-saving community public access defibrillators (CPADs) are being installed at ambulance stations across Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is fitting the defibrillators – which can be accessed by residents in local communities – outside stations which don’t have another CPAD within a 600m radius. Combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillators give cardiac arrest patients the best possible chance of survival.

The initiative originated from Rotherham-based NHS 111 Senior Clinical Advisor/Paramedic Gavin Doxey, who made the suggestion as a way of further increasing the number of life-saving devices in the community. He said, “I’m delighted my idea has been adopted as it will benefit the wider communities of Yorkshire. The equipment will be available as and when required to help save the lives of patients in cardiac arrest.”

Defibrillators give a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. The devices are easy to use, provide audible instructions to the user and will not deliver a shock unless it is required. No training is required to use the equipment.

Joanne Watson, Community Defibrillation Coordinator with the Community Resilience Team at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, has been overseeing the installation programme. She said, “We all know that defibrillation, along with CPR, are essential steps in the chain of survival. It’s great to be able to provide CPADs outside ambulance stations across Yorkshire so they can be accessed and used by members of the public to help save the lives of patients in cardiac arrest. Anyone who calls 999 for someone in cardiac arrest will be directed to their nearest device and provided with a code to the secure cabinet it’s contained in if necessary.”