Following Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 clash with Finland, the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has told ITV News Tyne Tees that every community fire station in the area has a defibrillator attached to the wall and is there for everyone to use in an emergency.
The service has teamed up with CardioProof to highlight the importance of defibrillators, with the non-profit organisation claiming that they can raise the chance of survival of a cardiac arrest patient by around 15 to 20 per cent.
Dr Michael Norton, from CardioProof, says, "Survival in the UK is in single figures, about eight per cent. If you go to Seattle, Stavanger, Stockholm you’re talking 25 to 30 per cent and the biggest difference is that these cities have way more defibrillators than we do and more than half of the patients with cardiac arrest get a defibrillator used before the ambulance service arrives. Minutes count."
The fact the Fire service has installed the defibrillators at fire stations means anyone in the community can access the life saving equipment within seconds.
Fire officer, Peter Heath says it is a vital bit of kit, "they are community assets and with very little training people have it in their hands to save a life quite literally".
Paramedic, Steven Miles, who demonstrated how to use the defibrillators and carry out CPR with Dr Norton, says they are "very simple to use".
He adds, "often the hardest part of it is the decision to actually start and what I would say to anybody is if you think somebody is unconscious and they’re not breathing or not breathing normally, start chest compressions. You’re never going to do any harm, even if that heart is still beating, you will never do harm, but if you don’t do anything, they’re still in cardiac arrest."
The Stephen Carey Fund
Stephen Carey was only 21 when he had a cardiac arrest during a football match in Northumberland and died in 2012.
Since he passed away his family and friends have set up the Stephen Carey Fund in his memory, which has the aim of distributing defibrillators across the North East of England.
His brother, James Bowman, said "obviously there was CPR on him for the 45 minutes till the ambulance got there, but by that time it was just too late and by that time, you just never know. It’s a question we’ll always think. Defibs and CPR come together. You can’t have one without the other".
Friend, Scott McEwen, said "we’ve installed 200 defibrillators across the North East. 150 of those are public access defibrillators. We’ve had six lives saved to date that we know of. It gives great satisfaction in helping to deal with the loss of Stephen".