Everdon village has become home to a public defibrillator, accessible by members of the public in an emergency to help save lives.
The medical equipment is stored in a secure box on the outside of the village hall.
Everdon Parish Council paid £400 to the British Heart Foundation who supplied the defibrillator, while county councillors Robin Brown provided the money for the secure box and its installation.
Parish council chairman Kevin Nichols said: “We discovered that the nearest defibrillator to Everdon was in Braunston, which would take far too long to get to and back in an emergency.
“Everdon isn’t a particular hotspot for cardiac arrest but we get a lot of walkers coming through the village, we also have a large fete every year that draws in thousands of people, we have the outdoor education centre in the village, there are sports and other activities in the village hall, and the church next to the hall is used to host concerts and other events as well.
“Hopefully it will never be used. But if it saves a life £400 is not much to pay.”
Suddent cardiac arrest is a leading cause of premature death. It occurs when the electrical rhythm than controls and coordinates the heart’s muscle cells is replaces by a disorganised signal. The cells no longer contract together in a situation called ventricular fibrillation. Defibrillation applies an electrical shock across the heart in an attempt to get the muscles back into coordination.
The village’s doctor Katy Hill said: “If someone has a cardiac arrest the chance of survival drops by up to 10 per cent for every minute the defibrillation is delayed.
“Seconds count, and the ambulance service is not going to arrive quickly enough to resuscitate victims in Everdon. We are just too far from an ambulance station.”
Members of the public can only access the defibrillator after dialling 999. If appropriate the call operator will direct people to their nearest public defibrillator and provide the security code to access it.
The defibrillator is automatic and verbally guides people through the process of using it. Users have to stick two sensors onto the patients’ chest, and the machine itself will determine if the person is suffering a cardiac arrest, so there is no danger of people with other problems being shocked.