British Coatings Federation ‘paint villages red’ with life-saving scheme

Tuesday, 17 December, 2013

The British Coatings Federation (BCF) is partnering with BT and the Community HeartBeat Trust in a new nationwide scheme to install life-saving defibrillators in rural phone boxes.

Long Wittenham in Oxfordshire was the first village in the UK to have its red phone box refurbished under the scheme, courtesy of free paint from British Coatings Federation member HMG Paints.   The local Parish Council took advantage of BT’s ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme and adopted their iconic red phone box for just £1. With 50% funding from the Parish Council and 50% raised from villagers, it took no time at all to raise the £2,000 necessary to install the defibrillator, which can deliver vital medical treatment in the first crucial minutes following a cardiac arrest. BCF Members AkzoNobel Decorative Coatings, Craig & Rose, Crown Paints, Firwood Paints, Indestructible Paints, James Briggs, Manor Coatings, PPG Architectural Coatings, Pronto Industrial Paints, Sherwin-Williams, Tor Coatings and Valspar will provide free paint to renovate the phone boxes prior to conversion to a defibrillator, and BCF Associate Member Fenton Packaging will be giving free paint cans to the paint manufacturers.

Richard Schofield, of Community HeartBeat Trust, who had the original idea behind the scheme, said: “There are thousands of phone boxes in rural locations throughout the UK, and many of them are sitting idle. Over the next five years, we’re aiming to encourage the UK’s rural communities to install a defibrillator in their local phone box, with the aim to create a national network of two and half thousand defibrillators.”

Following a cardiac arrest the chances of survival drop dramatically every minute. The UK Resuscitation Council recommends that a defibrillator should be available when medical treatment is more than five minutes away, which would include most rural locations in the UK.

Inside the phone box, in place of the telephone unit, the defibrillator is housed in a lockable steel box. When someone calls 999, they will be told there is a defibrillator in the local phone box, and will be given the code to open the box. Once the electrode pads are attached to a casualty, the defibrillator will identify if a ‘shock’ is needed and will instruct the rescuer using step-by-step voice instructions.

The British Coatings Federation’s members will provide a paint system of undercoat and traditional red topcoat (worth £75) to every local community that installs a defibrillator in their phone box. Tom Bowtell, Chief Executive Officer of the British Coatings Federation said: “We are so proud to be involved in this ground-breaking scheme in partnership with BT and the Community HeartBeat Trust. Together we will continue to encourage local communities to make a difference to the emergency service response provided to rural parts of the country.”

Whilst the British Coatings Federation will provide the paint system that will revitalise the kiosk, BT will take on board the cost of maintaining the electricity supply to the phone boxes, so the equipment will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mark Johnson,Head of the Street Payphone Business at BT said: “We launched the Adopt a Kiosk scheme because the red telephone box is a significant part of our national heritage. We’re pleased to support this worthwhile project that will not only help to continue the legacy of the red kiosk, but crucially will provide local communities with such a beneficial and lifesaving function.”

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