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Henley-on-Thames now has HeartSafe® Villages

Henley-on-Thames now has HeartSafe® Villages

Author: HeartSafe/Friday, November 20, 2009/Categories: Businesses/Town Councils, Communities, New Cabinet Installations, Village Halls, Village Shops

FOUR defibrillators have been installed in the Hambleden valley.

Parish councillor Susan Walker began a campaign to have the life-saving equipment available in the area following the death of a neighbour, Mary Poulter, from a heart attack.

Now Hambleden, Fingest, Skirmett and Frieth is the first parish in the South Central Ambulance Service area to have defibrillators.

At the unveiling on Monday last week, paramedic Dick Tracey demonstrated how the machines work.

When someone calls 999, the operator will tell them the code for the box containing the defibrillator, so they can use it on the patient before the ambulance arrives. The defibrillator determines how much electricity is needed and audibly instructs the user how to operate it.

An ambulance is usually unable to reach someone who has had a heart attack within eight minutes, the critical time for saving the patient’s life.

Cllr Walker said: “We’re in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we want to keep it rural, so we don’t have street lights or house numbers.

“This means there is nothing to help the emergency services so we have to look at other ways to help. The equipment is foolproof and very simple to use.” She said she hoped other parish councils, particularly those in rural areas, would follow suit.

The £9,000 needed to buy the machines was raised through donations, including more than £2,200 from Buckingham County Council.

The installation was greatly supported by Arrhythmia Alliance, a national charity which helped set up the boxes.

Other people at the launch included parish clerk Sharon Henson, county councillor Bob Woollard, John Nicholls, the divisional director of the South Central Ambulance Service, and Tom Nixey, chairman of Hambleden Parish Council. 

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