The Alresford Community Cardiac Defibrillator Scheme has been established as the direct result of an initiative suggested to the Alresford Pigs, who established a committee led by Chris Lillywhite of Alresford Pigs and Dr Peter Stokes from the Alresford Surgery. The scheme is operating in co-operation with the Community HeartBeat Trust, a national charity focused on the provision of life saving defibrillation services to local communities or groups, working with the local ambulance services (www.communityheartbeat.org.uk).
During the Summer of 2015, seven defibrillators have been installed around Alresford and in Old Alresford, adding to the two other previous installations of similar units: an eighth new unit will be installed by the year end.
Why use a Defibrillator?
Inside the boxes at the various locations there is a simple, light weight “Automated External Defibrillator” (AED). This is a portable, light-weight battery powered electronic device that automatically diagnoses a patient who appears to have breathing difficulties or the symptoms of a possible heart attack. It looks for and analyses any life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient’s heart, and is able to treat them through defibrillation – the application of electrical therapy which helps stop the arrhythmia – thereby encouraging the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.
Heart treatment, if needed, is most effective if applied very quickly after the patient shows the symptoms, particularly within the first ten minutes after the event, which is why multiple units are positioned around the town. Before it arrives, use chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed to be simple to use for the layperson. This device should be taken to any unconscious or semi-unconscious casualty: if the patient is diagnosed as not needing any heart rhythm treatment, the machine will not do anything, and will not hurt the patient.
How to open the box!
All the bright yellow boxes have a key-coded lock, and a Serial number stamped on the outside. By dialling 999 and asking for help, the Emergency Services will despatch an Ambulance immediately, and a first responder if possible. The operator will also provide the keycode to open the box at your nearest operational defibrillator, and tell you where it is. Hopefully you can send someone to this location, to collect the bag containing the AED, and rush this to the patient. While they do this, you should continue chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation alternately, to provide assistance while the equipment arrives.
The AED will give clear instructions for use by way of an audio-visual display panel, and really can be used without any previous training. However the Community HeartBeat Trust is planning to arrange local awareness sessions for those wishing to learn more: the first is on Saturday November 14th at the ARC, from 1000-1230.
Where are the new public access units?
(Click on the pictures to get a larger view)
Sun Hill School Entrance: This unit is on Sun Lane, at the top of the hill, outside the Sun Hill school gate. The Serial Number is CHT-14-1320, where presumably the CHT stands for Community Heartbeat Trust, the 14 is for the year 2014, when our project started, and this is unit 1320. This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.
Alresford Bowling Club: This unit is also on Sun Lane, at the gate giving entry to the Bowling Club, where the white lines on the road try to stop cars parking across the access. This unit was totally financed by the Bowling Club, but they have made it available for public use also. Serial Number is CHT-14-1319.
Alresford Community Centre: Next to Lloyds Bank at the top of West Street, in the outside foyer of the Community Centre doorway, there is another unit, with Serial Number CHT-14-1325. This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.
Old Alresford Phone box: This unit is in the phone box beside the Village Green, on the Basingstoke Road. There is no phone in the phone box, it was disused, and Old Alresford Parish Council have retained it, and have financed the purchase and installation of the Defibrillator. Serial Number is CHT-14-1318.
Cedar Veterinary Surgery: On New Farm Road, at the junction of Covey Way, Cedar Veterinary Surgery have allowed the unit to be installed at the front of their building, on the left corner. The Serial Number is CHT-14-1323. Defibrillators are not recommended for use on animals! This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.
ARC: The Alresford Recreation Centre on the Avenue has a unit installed at the left hand side of the building, by the door to the Visitor’s Changing Rooms. This is also available for public use, but was financed by significant contributions from the Alresford Rugby and Football Clubs and the Tennis Club, as well as the Alresford Recreational Centre Social Club. Serial Number is CHT-14-1322.
Stratton Bates Recreation Ground: The Defibrillator here is installed on the Grange Road side of the building, at the back of the building, next to the rear door, and facing/visible from Grange Road. The Serial number is CHT-14-1324. This unit was financed by the Alresford Pigs.
Linnets Road: Hopefully to be installed before the end of 2015, another unit financed by the Alresford Pigs is planned for installation in the telephone box near the highest point of Linnets Road, on the path near the original two shops. The phone in this booth was vandalized, ie the handset was cut off, around a year or two ago, but BT did not think it worth replacing!
So the organizing committee approached BT and ownership has been re-allocated to them, for a nominal payment, for use as a Defibrillator housing!
Update in February 2016:
The broken BT phone in the Linnets Road phone box was taken away some time ago, and the new defibrillator has now been installed! The unit is now up and operational, and even the windows of the phone box have been cleaned up a bit! The phone booth now boasts a yellow and green Defibrillator sign facing the road. The Serial number is CHT-14-1321.
Other Alresford installations
Separate to the current 2015 scheme in Alresford, there are some other defibrillators around the town:
Alresford Surgery: Alresford Group Surgery in Station Road has a Defibrillator available for use on their patients: indeed to first such unit used at Alresford Surgery was donated by the Edward Pay Medical Fund. This defibrillator is part of the surgery’s equipment, and is not a public access unit. The Emergency Responders and the Emergency Ambulances also carry such equipment.
Alresford Dental Care:
The dentist’s surgery on Pound Hill, known as Alresford Dental Care, has installed a defibrillator for which public access is allowed. This has been operational for over a year, and operates through the Hampshire and Isler of Wight Dental Committee scheme. It is located behind the surgery, in their car park, which is accessed from the Dean. When the Dentist’s surgery is open, they can provide assistance and give the access code. When closed, the normal 999 call is needed to obtain the access code – their box has no serial number, so the location (the Alresford Dental Care car park) should be quoted.
Alresford Golf Club:
This Defibrillator has been financed by the Golf Club itself, for members and visitors, and is located in the foyer, next to the trophy cabinet, at the entrance to the Club House. In case of emergency, contact should be made with the Office or Pro-shop, who will bring it to the patient if he is out on the course.
Defibrillator Installations in local villages:
There are other publicly accessible units spread around the local villages, which have been installed as a result of their own local initiatives. All those known are from the Community HeartBeat Trust, and are as follows:
Northington: This unit is installed at the front of the village hall, just off the B3046 on the corner of the turning towards the Church. The reference number for this unit is CHT-13-962.
Preston Candover: The unit here is installed on the outside of the village hall, in the car parking area opposite the school. The reference number for this unit is CHT-14-1245.
Upper Wield: At the cross roads on the corner of the village green, next to the bus-stop and shelter, there is a disused telephone box on the grass verge, which now houses a yellow defibrillator box! The reference number here, for this unit, is CHT-10-259, which presumably means the unit was allocated to Upper Wield back in 2010!