Anyone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest in Leighton Linslade now has his or her chances of survival considerably enhanced, thanks to the launch of five life-saving defibrillators across the town.
They have been installed at the library, the multi-storey car park, the post office, Mentmore Pavilion and Astral Park.
The scheme – masterminded by Leighton-Linslade First Responders (LLFR) founder Stephen Bennett - was launched by mayor Ray Berry on Saturday (April 11) when he cut a ceremonial ribbon to unveil the unit outside the library.
Several community organisations have been working together for the past year to raise funds for the project. They include the council, LLFR, the Rotary Club, LB First, Central Beds Council, Beds Fire and Rescue Service and the Community Heartbeat Trust.
MP Andrew Selous was among the VIP guests at the launch, as well as East of England Ambulance Service locality director Dave Fountain, town clerk Mark Soccoccio and representatives from Rotary and LB First.
Mr Bennett said: “It’s hard to believe we started this less than 12 months ago with the aim of purchasing and installing one public access defibrillator – and now we have five.
“This is a fantastic result and makes Leighton Linslade a safer place to live, work and play.”
He added: “The equipment is really easy to access and use.
“If a member of the public comes across someone who has collapsed, they should dial 999 and call for an ambulance.
“The nearest defibrillator will show on the service’s computer and they will be given an access code and directed to it. The machine itself talks you through everything and all you have to do is attach it to the patient and follow instructions until help arrives.
“A defibrillator is the only effective way to treat a patient in cardiac arrest, increasing their chances of survival.”
LB First chair Gennaro Borelli said: “This is a fantastic achievement, not only by LB First but also by all the other organisation involved, who have worked together for the benefit of the town to provide these life saving machines.
“A huge and sincere thanks to those who donated their spare cash and gave up their time for this exceptional cause.”
There are more than 140,000 incidents of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) every year in the UK, making it one of our largest killers.
SCA does not discriminate against age, sex or fitness – it can happen to anyone in any place at any time. It has many causes including heart attack, stroke and major trauma.
> The most important element of the project is the involvement of the local community in understanding how the units work, and what to do if called upon to use one of the defibrillators.
There will be a community awareness training session at Mentmore Pavilion from 7pm - 9pm on Wednesday, May 13 for anyone interested in finding out more.
Mr Bennett said: “We’d particularly like employees who work full time in or around the defibrillators to attend the training as they are the ones most likely to be called upon to use them.”
The session is free but places are limited to 50. Book yours at www.leightonlinslade-tc.giv.uk or contact Jo Martindale on 01525 631911.