LIFE-SAVING equipment is being deployed in Bexhill town centre to help treat victims of heart attacks.
The first of what is hoped will be four automated external defibrillators (AEDs) was installed in Devonshire Road last Thursday.
It has been fixed to a wall outside New Foundations estate agents in a distinctive white cabinet.
A second is going outside the Co-Op store in Western Road, and two other locations have yet to be finalised.
Each unit costs £1,200 and funding has been provided by the Rother Voluntary Action Group.
Every year, some 60,000 people in the UK suffer a heart attack while not in hospital.
First aid is vital following cardiac arrest, and a key response is cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), usually involving chest compressions.
Every minute without CPR is reckoned to reduce a victim’s chances of survival by 10 per cent.
AEDs provide an extra lifeline, diagnosing the nature of the attack before delivering an electrical charge to “jump start” the heart via pads applied to the patient’s chest.
Bexhill’s volunteer Community First Responders have been working closely with the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) to bring the project to fruition.
Team leader Mike Dean said: “Anyone can use an AED, with no prior training necessary. Spoken instructions are given as soon as the equipment is accessed.”
Mr Dean was joined at Thursday’s launch by Tim Fellows, clinical operations manager at SECAMB, and Daryl Smedmore, of New Foundations. Mr Dean said: “We already have or are planning AED’s elsewhere in the area, including Ashburnham, Fairlight and Sidley, and we are working with the Old Town Preservation Society over providing one at the Manor Barn, Bexhill.”