This Valentine’s Day the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has offered to help communities mend broken hearts across the North-East with funding for some new community defibrillators.

Getting a defibrillator to patients earlier could mean that more people survive a cardiac arrest.

In a bid to increase the number of defibrillators in the community, NEAS and the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund are offering £500 funding and support to community groups in 60 target areas of the North-East.

Community development officer Alex Mason said, “We know that only 8.7% of patients who had resuscitation attempted on them survived to be discharged from hospital. When a heart stops beating, oxygen is not being transported to the brain and other vital organs, and within four to five minutes, brain damage will start to occur without intervention.

“A victim’s chance of survival falls by around 7 to 10 percent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed. We regularly call upon the hundreds of community defibrillators already installed in the region to support our patients whilst an ambulance is travelling but even more in these target areas will help to cover the areas where people might not already have early access to the right equipment.

Remember, you could be the difference between someone surviving or not.”

Looking at the locations of current defibrillator sites, alongside information about the health and demographics of people across the region, NEAS has highlighted 60 key areas where a defibrillator could help to make a difference in the community.

A defibrillator is a significant investment for any community and the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund is inviting anyone in the key areas to apply for £500 funding towards the total cost of approximately £1,500 to purchase one.

Alex added, “Evidence suggests that over a quarter of adults living in the North East currently wouldn’t perform CPR or use defibrillator for fear that they might hurt the person or do it wrong. Our ambulance crews know only too well that their patient has had the best chances of survival when they arrive at a job where CPR is in progress and our call handlers will talk any bystander through what to do and support them all the way if they are unsure.”

To apply for funding online and view the map of all the current defibrillators throughout the region by following this link: /our-services/community-defibrillators/funding-opportunities.aspx

The North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund is set up to support staff, volunteers, patients and local communities. Chair of the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund Douglas Taylor said, “We want to encourage people throughout the region to apply for a community defibrillator if the location falls within one of the key target areas. The push for more defibrillators throughout the region is to support community groups to reach a defibrillator in time, if someone is in cardiac arrest to increase their chance of survival.”

If you want to donate to the Charitable Fund, please follow this link: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/northeastambulanceservicetrustfund

More information about the NEAS Charitable Fund can also be found here: /get-involved/making-a-donation.aspx

If someone is unconscious and not breathing normally:

  • Call 999, and ask for an ambulance.
  • Start CPR – press down 5-6cm in the middle of the chest, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (approx. 2 per second). If you are untrained, or unable to give mouth to mouth (rescue breaths), give continuous compressions. Otherwise, give 30 compressions then two rescue breaths, and continue doing this.
  • If there is a defibrillator nearby (the ambulance call handler will tell you if there is one close), ask someone to fetch it, turn it on, and follow its instructions.
  • Carry on with CPR, and the defibrillator will re-analyse the rhythm every two minutes. Keep going until:
    • The person shows signs of recovery
    • Help arrives and takes over
    • You are too tired to continue.