All 154 of the staffed stations on the South Western Railway (SWR) network are to have automated external defibrillators by the end of the summer.
The train operator is investing over half a million pounds in the project.
The defibrillators will be placed in protective cabinets as close as possible to the front entrance of the stations, to be used day or night in the event of cardiac incidents at or near stations.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) estimates that there are around 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the United Kingdom, and tragically just one in 10 people survive.
Station staff and local ambulance services will be provided with the codes to unlock the cabinets and access the machines, which they can provide to members of the public in an emergency.
Moreover, the locations will be added to ‘The Circuit’ – the BHF’s database. Once registered, a defibrillator is visible to NHS ambulance services who can direct 999 callers to its location so it can be used to help save lives.
A heating system will ensure that the defibrillators can maintain their normal operating temperature. A monitoring system will also send an alert if a machine malfunctions or the battery is low, ensuring it is always ready to use.
The announcement of the defibrillator installation project coincides with the naming of an SWR train after the Alex Wardle Foundation in a ceremony held at London Waterloo station this week.
SWR has partnered with the Alex Wardle Foundation to help raise awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest, particularly young, apparently healthy, people.
The charity was set up in memory of Alex Wardle, a medical student and son of an SWR operations trainer, who passed away from SADS in March 2016.
His father, Steve Wardle, has worked for SWR for 38 years and, along with other members of Alex’s close family and friends, he set up the charity to help further understanding of SADS and prevent deaths from the condition.
Since it was set up, SWR has raised more than £7,000 for the charity to contribute community defibrillators as well as training courses for their use. This helped inspire SWR’s decision to fund defibrillators for all its staffed stations.
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