Defibrillators to make major development among first Heartsafe towns

Louise Caves, Bernard Gallacher, Steve Hornblow and Trudie Lobban at launch of the automated external defibrillators.
Louise Caves, Bernard Gallacher, Steve Hornblow and Trudie Lobban at launch of the automated external defibrillators.

A development in Bicester is to become one of the first new build Heartsafe towns in the UK and Europe.

Developes of NW Bicester, A2Dominion, is working in partnership with heart rhythm charity, Arrhythmia Alliance, to install four automated external defibrillators (AEDs) within the new development.

The team attended Westminster on Wednesday, June 3 to take delivery of the AEDs and cabinets to show its support for the launch of Arrhythmia Alliance’s manifesto to increase the number of public access defibrillators as part of Heart Rhythm Week.

The defibrillators will be installed in secure cabinets at every bus stop, of which there are four, on the first phase of the development. The bus stops are located within 400m of every home, making the defibs quick and easy to locate in an emergency and are accessible 24 hours a day.

Arrhythmia Alliance’s president Prof A John Camm launched the manifesto at Westminster along with HeartSine, AED Locator and three-time Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher OBE who strongly supports the need for more defibrillators after suffering a cardiac arrest which almost claimed his life. The former golf professional collapsed before speaking at an event in Scotland in 2013, and was saved only because the hotel had a defibrillator.

John Knevett, A2Dominion Group Commercial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely proud to be leading the way on this exemplary scheme by offering the future community at NW Bicester access to such an important piece of lifesaving equipment.

“NW Bicester is cutting edge on several fronts offering quality of life, healthy living and access to the latest technologies. The health and happiness of our residents is paramount and the “HeartSafe” community perspective chimes superbly with the lifestyle that we are creating here. We hope our forward thinking will encourage other developers to follow suit and make their communities HeartSafe.”

Bernard Gallacher OBE added: “Ever since my cardiac arrest, I have been on a mission to get defibrillators installed in places central to the community such as golf courses, swimming pools, gyms, leisure centres and schools. I fully support the decision to place defibrillators at NW Bicester, which will give the whole community access to this vital life saving device.”

Bernard added: “I didn’t have any symptoms, no pain, no warning of what was coming, I just collapsed. One of the guests at the event in Scotland gave me CPR and then used the defibrillator. There’s no doubt he saved my life. Statistically I was unlikely to make it; only one in 10 people survive a cardiac arrest. I feel incredibly lucky.”

The HeartSine defibrillators will be stored in AED Locator cabinets which can be unlocked by calling 999 to get the passcode which is entered via a digital keypad. A2Dominion intends to raise awareness of the devices and how to access them via inductions with new residents and the school. The defibrillator can also be accessed and used by trained first responders living in the community, who are often the first on the scene at emergency situations.

Trudie Lobban MBE, Arrhythmia Alliance Founder and CEO, said: “By monitoring a patient’s heart rhythm an AED can tell the user when to administer an electric shock required to return the heart to its natural rhythm. They are very simple and safe to operate and if used within the first few minutes along with CPR, can increase the likelihood of survival by up to 50 per cent. It’s shocking to think that it’s compulsory to have fire extinguishers in public buildings but cardiac arrests actually kill more people.

“So far we have initiated placement of more than 700 defibrillators in public places across the UK through our Defibs Save Lives campaign which was launched in 2012. We are delighted that A2Dominion has got on board at NW Bicester as our first housing provider to help with our quest to make defibs publically accessible, which will go towards our goal of increasing the number of AEDs in the country.”

NW Bicester is the first true zero carbon residential development of its size in the UK.

Elmsbrook, the first phase of the development consisting of 393 homes, was launched on June 6 and 7. It is one of 10 worldwide recipients to be recognised with Bioregional’s One Planet Living status, an unprecedented standard of eco efficiency and sustainable living. The wider NW Bicester project will encompass up to 6,000 highly energy efficient new homes in total, with over 40% of land allocated to green space.

For more information about NW Bicester, visit: www.nwbicester.co.uk

For more information about Arrhythmia Alliance, visit: www.heartrhythmcharity.org.uk