Life-saving defibrillator installed at Ferne

Ferne Animal Sanctuary now has a new HeartSafe automated external defibrillator (AED) on site thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The unit, which is designed for simplicity of use to untrained members of the public, contains a portable electronic device that can be used to save the lives of those in cardiac arrest by restarting their heart if it stops.
The AED will be kept in a locked cabinet at the side of Ferne’s main office block, making it easy to access in case of an emergency either onsite or in the wider community. Emergency callers to 999 will be given the access code and directed to the unit should it be required.
“I feel that an onsite defibrillator is a very positive emergency first aid addition to the Sanctuary, given our rural location” commented Mary Crompton, Reception Team Manager at Ferne. “However, as we are a charity reliant upon donations and sponsorship, we needed to secure funding to install this. To our delight, we were successful in our application to the Big Lottery Fund and received full funding, including electrical installation costs. I feel that providing first aid equipment that really can save a life will be of great benefit to our local community as well as our own staff and visitors.”
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of premature death but with immediate treatment many lives can be saved. In Europe about one in 1,000 of the population suffers cardiac arrest each year, so in the UK there are likely to be approximately 60,000 cases annually.
Defibrillators are devices that give a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This process is an essential life-saving step as getting a defibrillator to someone within four to five minutes gives them a 70% chance of survival. For every minute after that, it decreases by 10%.
AEDs are safe and will not allow a shock to be given unless the heart’s rhythm requires it. They are designed to be stored for long periods of time without use and require very little routine maintenance.