Lifesavers installed at Telford and Emstrey crematoria
Defibrillators that could potentially save the lives of mourners attending funerals in the county has been installed at two crematoria.
The equipment has been installed at Emstrey and Telford Crematoria and Dignity, the operators of both facilities, has raised the funds through their charity partner, the British Heart Foundation.
A defibrillator is a device that can save a life by giving a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest.
Staff at the crematorium have been trained to use the equipment. A defibrillator will only become active on a person whose heart needs a shock and will not cause any medical harm to someone that does not.
In the past six months, there has tragically been two deaths at crematoria in the UK when visitors have suffered a heart attack when attending a funeral.
Jane Baker, Telford crematorium manager, said: “We hope we never have to use the equipment but if someone became ill attending a funeral we wanted to do more than call an ambulance. Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around 10 per cent. Our partnership with British Heart Foundation has enabled us to purchase a defibrillator for use during an emergency.”
Nick Powell, chapel attendant and first aider at Emstrey Crematorium, said: “We will always call an ambulance but wanted to do everything we possibly can to provide immediate help.”
Dignity appointing British Heart Foundation as their charity partner in January 2017. In addition to installing this life-saving equipment, Dignity has raised over £450,000 for the charity by hosting events in their funeral premises, offices and crematoria throughout the UK.
Donna Stokes, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Defibrillators need to be available in areas of greatest risk – such as where crowds gather, a location where people are naturally anxious or under stress or possibly somewhere that an ambulance may take time to reach due to traffic congestion or distance from a hospital – so a crematorium meets all of these requirements.”
In addition to Shrewsbury and Telford, another 44 crematoria operated by Dignity now have defibrillators installed. The company is also investigating the possibility of adding defibrillators to the outside of their funeral premises and offices in areas where this equipment is not currently available.