A team of Community First Reponders has joined forces with a British Heart Foundation charity to protect public access defibrillators in the New Forest from theft.
Bransgore Community First Responders and Heartstart Bransgore New Forest have marked 11 defibrillators with SelectaDNA, a forensic marking system which will enable the police to identify where they have come from in the event that they are stolen and recovered.
The defibrillators are housed in distinctive yellow cabinets and are ready to be used in cases of cardiac arrest. Local residents are within just 8 minutes reach of this vital piece of equipment.
Community First Responders are volunteers who are trained to attend emergency calls received by the ambulance service and provide care until the ambulance arrives. Other equipment carried by the team on their emergency call outs is also being marked with SelectaDNA and registered to the national, police approved database.
Mike Jukes, Group Co-ordinator Bransgore Community First Responders said: “Although there has not been any problem with theft, it was considered prudent to take steps to permanently, yet discreetly, mark the defibrillators in such a way that they could be identified if stolen and later recovered by police.”
In 2016, the team attended several hundred emergency calls and were available ‘on-call’ for over 7,000 hours, which equates to over 81% of every day averaged out across the year.
Mike Jukes explained why the new SelectaDNA initiative is so important to the local community. “The potential for our team to arrive on scene before an ambulance, especially in rural areas, is vital in providing immediate life-saving treatment.
“Helping patients at a critical time is our primary role and we need to be confident that the equipment, including public access defibrillators, is there and ready to use when we need it.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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