14 New Defibrillators for town!


 Hundreds of lives could be saved in a local town, thanks to vital new South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) emergency medical equipment.

Some 14 new public access defibrillators are being installed this summer at key locations in the Looe area of Cornwall for use in sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) incidents.

A project for new defibrillators was launched 12 months ago when SWASFT Assistant Community First Responder (CFR) Officer, Stephen Matthews, discovered an existing device needed replacing.

The initiative received overwhelming backing from local businesses and other organisations.

Stephen Matthews said: “Cardiac arrests do not only affect the elderly, but any age of the spectrum. High footfall areas with busy seasonal population also statistically have shown a marked increase due to the sudden influx of people.

“Statistics show that if you can get a defibrillator on a patient within four minutes they have a 70% chance of survival. But that goes down by 10% each minute afterwards.

“In an ideal world we would have defibrillators every 200 metres, so there would always be one near the casualty.”

Tina Hicks, Chief Executive of Looe Harbour Commissioners, who attends emergency incidents on behalf of SWASFT as a volunteer CFR, was a key initiator of the project.

She wrote to various groups asking for support, and said the response was humbling.

Looe Pioneers have previously raised funds for two units (with the assistance of Looe Lions) which have been installed outside the RNLI Building on the seafront and Quayside Centre, West Looe.

The 14 new equipment were purchased by a variety of organisations, and a local  company (M & P Electrical) agreed to install the units for free.

Tina said: “I am very proud to say that by working together, we as a town, will be installing 14 additional defibrillators over the next few months, over a much increased catchment area. This is fantastic news for locals and visitors alike.

“I have had personal experience of heart problems within my close family. I’ve used a defibrillator ‘for real’ whilst serving as a CFR, and also as a member of the public.

“I cannot find the words that would describe the importance of having this equipment available if it is needed.”

SWASFT runs free defibrillator awareness sessions for people to learn how to use the devices.

The Mayor of Looe Mr Armand Toms said: “I would implore people to find the time to attend the awareness sessions. As a community, we need to overcome our fears and the misconception that by using these units, the operator can cause more damage to a patient than has already occurred. This is not the case.

“We all need to familiarize ourselves with this equipment, so that if the need arises we can do our best to save a life. It could be used to assist a total stranger or, a person that you love dearly. Most importantly, this equipment really can be the difference between life and death.”

Dave Bond Chairman of Looe Harbour Commissioners said: “We are pleased to support this project. We hope that by setting an example, other towns in Cornwall will follow our lead and work together to make their communities a safer place in which to live.”

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat SCAs in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.

Some 30,000 people are treated for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year.

Just 9% survive an out-of-hospital arrest, but their chances increase significantly when CPR is administered early and a public access defibrillator is available

A cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a defibrillator if one is available.



Looe Boat Owners Association (LBOA). Looe Harbour Commissioners Defibrillator Project Support.

LBOA has, for many years, published annual Tide Timetables supported by advertising from local traders and organisations. Funds generated were used by the Association to finance events such as the Annual Looe Raft Race.

In 2018, LBOA was approached by the Harbour Commissioners to provide funding for a defibrillator as part of a plan to site (15) units around the town. To meet the funding target, LBOA decided to commit the Timetable proceeds to the project. They recruited additional advertisers and published the Timetables in colour for the first time. With the support of Saltash printers Deltor Ltd, the project raised over £1,000 and, with a small supplement from Club coffers, a defibrillator was funded and installed at Plaidy on the outskirts of the town.  

Club Chairman, Laurie Watson, said he was delighted to be able to support the LHC project and is now planning to provide funding for other community projects from the proceeds of the 2019 Tide Timetables. If any local traders would like advertise in next years publication, please contact LBOA via the website at www.lboa.co.uk.