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Donated defibrillator to make Horsham safer

08 February 2016

Swan Walk defibrillatorA defibrillator funded by a donation made by a cardiac arrest survivor has been installed at an entrance to Swan Walk in Horsham, West Sussex.

The life-saving equipment, which can be used by anyone if someone suffers a cardiac arrest, has been placed at the West Street entrance to Swan Walk, next to Wilkinsons. The town centre is now covered by defibrillators at the new location as well as the Carfax entrance to Swan Walk and by a third defibrillator managed by shopping centre staff.

Neil James, from Horsham, donated money for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) to purchase a defibrillator after his life was saved by ambulance crews when he was on a fishing trip near Uckfield in August last year.

The installation of the new defibrillator was officially marked when Neil was joined by representatives from Swan Walk and Horsham Heartsafe to unveil the defibrillator on Friday (5 February).

Horsham Heartsafe was established last year to improve cardiac arrest survival rates across the Horsham District. The work includes increasing the number of Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) and CPR awareness.

Neil said: “I would like to see far more defibrillators accessible for the public to use in an event of real emergency. Without doubt these pieces of equipment save lives. In an event of real emergency the general public should not be frightened to use them. I’ve been told they are simple to use and my family have learned how to use them. By intervening and helping the person with this piece of kit you are giving them a real chance to live.”

Swan Walk Centre Manager Gill Buchanan said: “The safety of our customers is always a priority for the team at Swan Walk and the centre has for many years had on site equipment with all security officers being defibrillator trained. We are therefore delighted to be able to host the two public access defibrillators and it is especially poignant that one has been funded by a donation from someone who directly benefitted from this critical equipment.”

Horsham GP, Dr Liz Fisher, from Park Surgery added: “I’m delighted that this defibrillator has been donated by a Horsham resident after surviving a cardiac arrest and being successfully defibrillated with a similar machine. Effective CPR and early defibrillation with a defibrillator like this one doubles your chances of going home alive from hospital after having a cardiac arrest.”

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