A town in West Norfolk is now better equiped to deal with emergency situations thanks to the generosity of one of its residents.
Jane Kaminski, who was born and bred in Downham, offered to buy a defibrillator and have it installed on a property within the town, and so donated £2,020 for it.
A spokeswoman for the town council said they had suggested that the old fire station site in Priory Road would be appropriate as it is within a densely populated area of the town which has easy access.
She said: “The defibrillator has therefore been installed on this site with thanks to the trustees of Discover Downham whose organisation occupies the old fire station building.”
The town council, who will monitor the defibrillator, will arrange an open meeting for members of the public to understand in more detail how to operate it if called to help a person suffering from a heart attack.
There are already a number of defibrillators in the town but only one other that has public access on a 24/7 basis, which is located at the Castle Hotel and supported by the Downham Lions Club.
A defibrillator is a computerised medical device which delivers an electrical current though the chest to shock the heart back into a normal rhythym allowing it to pump again.
Being able to use the technology quickly can signifcantly improve the quality of life of a survivor, as the longer the brain is starved of oxygen, the more damage can occur – so this is an important asset to the town.
The device installed on Priory Road is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which is a portable defibrillator specifically designed for people with little or no medical background to use.
When in use, voice commands will guide the user step-by-step through the process and its intelligent technology will only allow it to shock a ‘shockable’ heart rhythm.
AED technology opens a window for the public to take on a key role to supporrt emergency services who could otherwise be hindered by the time it takes to reach the victim.
In the event of someone suffering a heart attack, the ambulance service should be contacted via 999 to explain the situation – they will then provide the relevant code to allow access to the defibrillator cabinet.
Pictured are Jane Kaminski, left, handing over the £2,020 cheque to Downham mayor Marion Ross, right, with councillor John Fox, second from left, holding the new defibrillator and Mike Pelling, trustee of Discover Downham Centre. MLNF17PM02058