St Neots shows its community spirit by funding life-saving devices

Thursday, 20 August, 2015


Community spirit in Huntingdonshire has been celebrated this week, with the funding of yet another piece of life-saving equipment.

St Neots has become the defibrillator capital of the East of England, thanks to the efforts of a paramedic and the support of councillors, businesses and community groups.

Since April 2014, seven community public access defibrillators (CPAD) have been installed in the area, which can make the vital difference if someone if unconscious and not breathing.
It comes after Jenni McClagish, who works for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), secured £10,000 from St Neots Town Council and around £7,000 from fundraising and donations.

The defibrillators are now in place at:

  • Cross Hall School, Great North Road, Eaton Ford
  • Giggs & Co, The Green, Great North Road, Eaton Socon
  • St Neots Ambulance Station, Huntingdon Street
  • St Neots Rugby Club, the Common
  • The Priory Centre, in Priory Lane, St Neots
  • Grafham Village hall, Brampton Rd, Grafham
  • The Bell public house, High Street, Great Paxton
  • Inside Tesco, Barford Road.

There are also plans to install two more CPADs in the area at Queens Gardens, Eaton Socon, and Loves Farm.
Around 80 people have also received first aid training to use a defibrillator.

Jenni said the project had “snowballed” after starting a campaign to get a defibrillator installed at Cross Hall School.
“I’m delighted with the amount of support there has been for this project. Effective CPR and early use of a defibrillator can make the difference between life or death, if someone is in cardiac arrest,” she said.

Jenni added the following advice for anyone fearful about using a defibrillator.

  • Anyone can use a defibrillator, with or without training
  • The defibrillator talks you through what to do once it is switched on
  • A 999 call handler will give instructions over the phone until the arrival of front-line ambulance staff
  • A defibrillator will not deliver a shock if a patient is conscious and breathing.

A CPAD is a defibrillator locked in a cabinet in a public location. The keycode is given out by emergency operations centre call handlers when someone calls 999 about a potential cardiac arrest.

This year EEAST launched the Their Life, Your Hands campaign to get people thinking about where their nearest community public access defibrillator is located - and also to help take the fear out having to use one should the situation arise.
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