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Wirral firefighters to be equipped with life-saving defibrillators
WIRRAL fire crews are set to be equipped with life-saving defibrillators as part of a new scheme.
The machines will be put in stations across the borough to be used on staff or members of the public while fire engines will also be fitted with them.
The project comes after kind-hearted volunteers managed to raise enough cash for the special equipment while funding also came from the British Heart Foundation, the North West Ambulance Service and the NHS.
The automatic external defibrillators (AED), which will be available from February 28, issue an automatic electric shock to the heart when the adhesive pad is placed on a person's body in correct manner.
Deputy chief fire officer Phil Garrigan said: "Although we have defibrillators at some locations there is not one on every community fire station and we wanted to change that to help our communities.
"People from our communities use our fire stations' meeting rooms and gyms on a regular basis and also visit the sites.
"However, this measure will help not just the public but it will be available for our staff too.
"We would like to thank the British Heart Foundation who supported and part funded this phase of the project.
"The second phase of the project will see defibrillators, identical to those used by the North West Ambulance Service, placed on every frontline fire appliance for use at incidents.
"Although our frontline firefighters already have ‘First Person on Scene’ and 'Trauma Care' qualifications, all of our staff will be trained to use this new equipment."
Firefighters used AEDs to help save lives in Wirral when 17-year-old girl was found collapsed in Greasby in 2010.
Ken Fretwell, fundraising volunteer manager for Merseyside and Cheshire at the British Heart Foundation, said: "It's brilliant to see all the emergency services in Merseyside, including our firefighters, equipped to save the life of someone who has had a cardiac arrest.
"During cardiac arrest, every minute that passes without defibrillation means a patient’s chance of survival decreases by about 10 per cent - they’re absolutely vital in the chain of survival.
"Any initiative like this that helps put defibrillators in places where they're needed the most will undoubtedly save lives."