Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, helped unveil a new defibrillator at Rye Station on Friday (March 16), through a partnership between The Sussex Heart Charity (SHC) and Southern Rail.
Life-saving machines have been fitted to more than 50 stations across Sussex since SHC first launched the programme two years ago, with more than £100,000 invested during that time.
Amber Rudd MP helped celebrate the installation and heard that, by the summer, there will be an automated external defibrillator (AED) at every station in the county, or in the community nearby.
She said: “I am delighted to have attended the launch of Sussex Heart Charity’s defibrillator campaign at Rye Station. The charity is doing fantastic work to install automated external defibrillators in train stations throughout Sussex.
“It is such an important initiative that could help save lives in our towns and I am pleased Rye station has become a part of it.”
Jason Palmer, SHC volunteer director, said: “Watching Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP unveil the 55th SHC defibrillator at Rye train station was truly a very proud moment. The SHC is the largest cardiac care charity in the county, but also the smallest, with only two paid staff. It’s local people giving up their time, making regular donations and supporting small local charities by attending events that make a difference, enabling charities such as the SHC to fund life-saving equipment, basic life support and cardiac counselling throughout Sussex, for the people of Sussex.”
Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Govia Thameslink Railway, added: “This is a fantastic partnership that has the potential to save lives right across the county. Our railways are at the heart of our communities and it’s only right that they have the machinery to aid the hearts of an unfortunate passenger who may suffer a heart attack.”
The Sussex Heart Charity is an independent charity which supports care of the heart throughout Sussex. Sudden cardiac arrest happens to approximately 30,000 people every year in the UK, and can strike anyone, at anytime, without warning.
Dr Rachael James, Consultant Cardiologist and volunteer co-chairman of SHC, said: “It is essential that defibrillation be administered as soon as possible following the cardiac arrest. If the heart does not return to regular rhythm within 5-7 minutes, this fibrillation could be fatal.
“This is why fitting AEDs close by where they may be most needed is so helpful. Providing some form or basic life support (CPR), especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”
Written by Alex Holmes