Oxfordshire defibrillator campaign reaches target - and sets a new one

Dick Tracey, South Central Ambulance Service's community responders manager, is calling for more defibrillators to be installed in Oxfordshire. NNL-140722-161151001
Dick Tracey, South Central Ambulance Service's community responders manager, is calling for more defibrillators to be installed in Oxfordshire. NNL-140722-161151001

A defibrillator campaign to get 200 machines in Oxfordshire has reached its target – but the person behind it is not stopping until he gets the figure to 500.

Dick Tracey is divisional responder commander for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and has delivered hundreds of talks to organisations and village groups in the county to help spread more awareness.

He also gives training courses to help reduce the perceived fear many have when using defibrillators in an emergency. Mr Tracey set himself and his team a target of 200 machines in the county before April 1, and completed his objective before the deadline when Eynsham Sports and Social Club purchased the 203rd.

But Mr Tracey is not resting our his laurels despite this feat, and is already working hard to get the figure up to 500 so residents living in the county are less than ten minutes away from a defibrillator.

The machines work by delivering an electric shock to the heart of a person suffering a cardiac arrest. It is estimated that if no active treatment is administered, the chance of a successful resuscitation drops by 10 per cent every minute.

Several Banburyshire villages are also doing their bit to help increase more awareness about defibrillators, including Shotteswell, Hook Norton, Shenington and Bloxham.

Banbury’s Lions Club has also been hard at work raising funds for a defibrillator in the Market Place. They have held several successful fundraising events in the town centre and are working towards having a machine installed soon.

It follows the good work of the Chipping Norton’s Lion Club, who currently have four machines in different areas of the town.

Through a vigorous campaign which saw them raise £8,000, the machines are placed in a redundant phone box in the High Street, the Freemasons Lodge on Over Norton Road and the Red Lion pub on the junction of Albion Street and the Cattle Market. A fourth one is on Hailey Road.

To help tackle the campaign, SCAS has started a campaign called Start a Heart, which is a phone app that tells people where their nearest defibrillator is. Mr Tracey would welcome anyone wanting to get in touch with defibrillators.

For more details email richard.tracey@scas.nhs.uk