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Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly has pledged his support for a fund-raising campaign to provide a network of life-saving heart defibrillators in the Borough.
He promised his backing after meeting officials from AED donate - the charity behind the campaign - who work with the ambulance service to install defibrillators at key locations in the community.
AED is already working with two pubs at opposite ends of the town - The Lymestone Vaults and The Greyhound – to raise the money needed to install defibrillators at their premises.
It costs £1,375 to provide a defibrillator inside a building and £1,999 to cover the added costs of fixing it to an external wall so it can be used by a member of the public in the street.
Once a location is chosen, the defibrillators are placed inside vandal-proof cabinets and protected with a pin code. The code is provided by a member of the emergency services as soon as a 999 call is made.
Sudden cardiac arrest kills 100,000 men, women and children in the UK every year and survival rates outside a hospital are very poor, varying from two to 12 per cent.
On average, it takes eight minutes for an ambulance to respond to a cardiac arrest, but the chances of rescutitation are improved by 70 per cent if a patient can get access to a defibrillator as quickly as possible.
Mr Farrelly said: “The first few minutes after a cardiac arrest are vitally important and can make the difference between life and death.
“I would encourage as many local businesses, schools, sports clubs and other organisations as possible to join this campaign, knowing that in doing so they will be saving lives.
“The equipment is very easy to use and by locating the cabinets in pubs, schools and community venues where lots of people gather means that it can become a community resource available to anyone in an emergency.”
Our picture shows Paul with Clair Turner, AED’s local project manager, and Jamie Richards, who is co-co-ordinating the fund-raising campaign across Staffordshire.