CARDIAC arrest victims on Felpham seafront stand a better chance of survival thanks to pioneering medical equipment.
The first public access defibrillator in the area has been installed along the promenade at its junction with Blakes Road.
The advanced item tells the user how to give a person whose heart has just stopped the greatest chance to stay alive.
It was launched last Thursday after being installed by Felpham Parish Council.
Cllr Gloria Moss, who chairs the council’s projects committee, said: “It’s a project that needed to be achieved and it’s very satistfying that it has been.
“I know what a difference a defibrillator can make in the chances of survival.”
She is also the British Red Cross’s Sussex president. She worked with the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to achieve the defibrillator.
The trust’s community first responders will monitor the item.
Derek Wilson, the responders’ team leader for the Bognor area, and responder John Morris, demonstrated the defibrillator at the unveiling. Mr Wilson said: “Defibrillators are safe to use. You can’t do any danger with it. The machine will not let you go wrong.”
But anyone needing to use it should ensure 999 had been contacted to get paramedics on their way.
The ambulance trust’s community partnership lead, Malcolm Legg, said: “This equipment will enable an inexperienced, untrained person to save a life. There’s no guarantee it will shock somebody back to life. But early defibrillation plus early CPR (resuscitation) is the best way of getting the outcome we want.”
He said the trust went to some 12-14 cardiac arrest victims daily in Sussex, Surrey and Kent.
The defibrillator cost £1,000. Felpham Parish Council paid £400. The rest came from the British Heart Foundation.
The council also spent £700 on the installation. This was achieved thanks to Arun District Council and Inspire Leisure, for the site at the tennis courts.