Automatic defibrillators have been introduced on every fire engine in Merseyside

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The Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) will be located at the 26 stations and all other Fire Service buildings across Merseyside for use on staff or members of the public. There is also a defibrillator on each operational fire appliance.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has worked closely with the British Heart Foundation, the North West Ambulance Service and the NHS to make this possible.

The AEDs issue an automatic electric shock to the heart when the adhesive pad is placed on a person’s body in the correct location and in the prescribed manner.

The defibrillators are being part funded by the British Heart Foundation and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and are on all fire appliances.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “Although we have defibrillators at some locations there is not one on every community fire station and we wanted to change that to help our communities. People from our communities use our fire stations’ meeting rooms and gyms on a regular basis and also visit the sites. However, this measure will help not just the public but it will be available for our staff too. We would like to thank the British Heart Foundation who supported and part funded this phase of the project.

“The second phase of the project will see defibrillators, identical to those used by the North West Ambulance Service, placed on every frontline fire appliance for use at incidents. Although our frontline firefighters already have ‘First Person on Scene’ and ‘Trauma Care’ qualifications, all of our staff will be trained to use this new equipment.”

Firefighters have already used AEDs to help save lives in Merseyside.

An appliance from Croxteth Community Fire Station, part of the Search and Rescue Team, was flagged down by police officers in November 2010 in Greasby on the Wirral, while returning from attending a call-out to a collision in Caldy.

The officers were standing next to a 17-year-old woman who had collapsed. Firefighters used the AED on the teenager before paramedics arrived and the woman’s pulse and breathing started again. She was then taken to Arrowe Park Hospital.

Ken Fretwell, Fundraising Volunteer Manager for Merseyside and Cheshire at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s brilliant to see all the emergency services in Merseyside, including our firefighters, equipped to save the life of someone who has had a cardiac arrest.

“During cardiac arrest, every minute that passes without defibrillation means a patient’s chance of survival decreases by about 10 per cent – they’re absolutely vital in the chain of survival.

“Any initiative like this that helps put defibrillators in places where they’re needed the most will undoubtedly save lives.”

British Heart Foundation volunteers Peter Meldrum along with Jean and Graham Cox, who are based on the Wirral, and Tommy Callagher, based in Liverpool, helped to raise funds for the defibrillators.

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