14th Dec, 2019

Campaign for more life-saving defibrillators in Solihull

Felix Nobes 9th Aug, 2019

A CAMPAIGN aims to install more life-saving defibrillators – eventually rising to one for every 300 metres in urban parts of Solihull.

Green Party councillor and spokesperson for health and adult social care, Rosemary Sexton, is calling for more of the devices to be made available throughout the borough.

The vital machines are primarily used to treat cardiac arrests – or sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.

Without immediate attention the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are drastically reduced while the chances of brain damage are also increased.

Coun Sexton says the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) recommends that there is a defibrillator for every 300 metres in built-up areas like Solihull town centre.

Without a defibrillator, a heart cannot be restarted when it goes into arrest – and the chances of death increase by 10 per cent for every minute that goes by.

After her meeting with WMAS, Coun Sexton said: “If you’re within 300 metres of a defibrillator when you have a cardiac arrest, your chances of survival go up substantially.

“If someone calls 999 because someone is having a cardiac arrest, if there is a defibrillator within that distance, emergency services will direct that person to the location.

“At the moment, that doesn’t cover the whole of Solihull or even the whole of the town centre.

“But, by comparison, in Manchester city centre there is a defibrillator within every 300 metres. So that’s the gold standard.

“In an ideal world we would love to have something similar in Solihull.

“I think it’s achievable but it would take working together from a number of different groups.

“One of the things we spoke about in the meeting was the potential to get some more defibrillators particularly in council-run properties.”

She told us the battle will begin by simply raising awareness.

But she and the council are in discussions over potentially installing the devices in the Bluebell Centre in Chelmsley Wood and the Core in Theatre Square, town centre.

She is reminding the public that specialist training to operate the devices is not needed – and when applying the device, people cannot make things worse because the machine makes the ‘decisions’.

She is hoping to form a consensus on the council to begin installing the machines.

In the future, she hopes all planning application for public facing developments in Solihull will include a requirement – or strong recommendation – for a defibrillator to be included.

She hopes more businesses, charities and council partners will come forward to finance the devices in their buildings – for a cost of as little as £1,000 – or £200 a year.

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