The automated external defibrillator is located on the outside wall of Bank House on the corner of the market square. The unit was officially unveiled by Stephen on Friday 20 March.
With Reepham being thriving Market Town, it holds large events during the year that attract many visitors to the town. It is also popular with cyclists and walkers who use Marriotts Way and use the town as a stop off point.
With this is mind, The UK Resuscitation Council suggests an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) should be available wherever medical treatment is more than five minutes away, in particular more rural areas such as Reepham.
The portable electronic device automatically diagnoses cardiac incidents and applies electrical therapy to allow the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. When a 999 call is made to the emergency services, if there is more than one person with the casualty, the caller will be directed to the nearest defibrillator.
An access code will be given over the phone to unlock the cabinet, and the portable unit can then be taken to the casualty. Guidance is provided on how to use the equipment by an automated voice, which will direct the user as to how to attach the pads to the patient’s chest and carry out the treatment. The unit is said to be safe and will only work if an irregular heartbeat is detected, and can be used without any training.
The Original Cottage Company has worked with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) as part of a project to install 100 defibrillator units across the region, with the company funding the yellow housing and installation of the equipment. It is also organising awareness training sessions run by the EEAST, and has provided the access code to key shops and organisations within the town.
TOCC business development director James Ellis admitted that the initial idea for the defibrillator came from his wife, Mel, who had worked in a cardiac rehabilitation team in the National Health Service. “We wanted to make a difference to people’s lives,” he explained.
“Every minute saved by equipment such as this increases the chance of survival drastically. Even if it saves one person’s life it will be more than worth the cost. And we are pleased to do this as a company and as part of Reepham.”
Stephen praised the work by the local community and said: “I am delighted to see the community come together in such a positive and progressive way to ensure people’s safety in rural areas of Norfolk”.