North Staffordshire Medical Institute is set to save lives after raising an incredible £1,999 to buy and install its own public defibrillator.
The emergency equipment has been mounted on the outside wall of the charity’s headquarters on Hartshill Road, Stoke, ready to be used if a member of the public has a cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest is one of Britain’s biggest killers, causing the deaths of around 100,000 people every year.
But a victim’s chance of survival soars from just six per cent to 75 per cent if they are treated with a defibrillator within five minutes.
Shaughn O’Brien, chairman of the Institute, said: “I think this is the only defibrillator in the area and it has the potential to be of so much benefit.
“The community has raised the money for this equipment and we are very grateful to them for the success of this appeal.”
The Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) works by delivering a series of electric shocks through a casualty’s chest to help their heart rhythm return to normal.
It first automatically analyses their heart rate to make sure it can only be used when it is needed.
The state-of-the-art machine is one of 1,100 around the country supplied by Stone-based charity AED Donate.
A similar device mounted outside the Signal Radio offices on Stoke Road has been used on average once a month since it was installed.
Josh Cope, Community Fundraiser for AED Donate, said: “The idea that we want to push is that the community itself can be the fourth emergency service.
“We recently spoke to staff members at an air ambulance and they said that to get their helicopter just to take off takes three minutes. In that time you could have someone doing CPR and giving the first shock of a defib.”
Eventually, the group aims to make sure no-one in the UK is ever more than two minutes’ brisk walk away from a defibrillator.
Josh added: “We always aim to put a defib in high footfall areas. Believe it or not we’ve actually had a few installed at funeral parlours.
“We’ve got more than a thousand from Wales down to London and they’re all over the place, from high streets to the middle of nowhere.”
The AED has been mounted in vandal-proof, heat-regulated cabinet that opens with a security code available from the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
It is designed to be easy to use by members of the public, even without training, under guidance from 999 operators.
The device was installed after a year-long campaign to raise the funds, led by Institute manager Jacqui Robinson.
It was supported by councillor Sean Pender, Hartshill and Harpfields’ Occasions, the local Residents’ Association and the Rotary Club, as well as residents of the area.
The NSMI itself contributed the final £337.41 to the fundraising total.