52 Things - Number 31: Install a defibrillator

Overview and Background:

A really simple way of improving the wellbeing and safety of your community is through the installation of a defibrillator. In rural areas where the nearest hospital could be two hours away, and an ambulance waiting time even longer than this, defibrillators are a life-saving idea.

The approach: 

This is evident in Hebden village, situated in the Yorkshire Dales in Craven, where parish councillors came into good fortune when they were offered a defibrillator due to the closure of a nearby charity in Grassington. In Hebden, the nearest hospital is some 18 miles away and the parish council did not feel they were able to afford the equipment by themselves, but funding from the charity meant that they and the villages nearby could benefit.

Further to this, Hebden sought a grant of £250 from Rural Action Yorkshire, and we were able to provide the funds as part of a Winter Weather project serving North Yorkshire at the time. Cllr Peter Hodge, of the parish council, explains, “We thank RAY for this grant, which assisted us with the defibrillator’s installation. We were lucky because one of our parishioners had experience with these apparatus and was able to fit it in the porch of the Old School Tea Rooms in Hebden. Without his and RAY’s help we were probably looking at much higher costs.”

What next: 

The installation has meant other villages can also benefit from its presence, and it has brought a new and valuable service to the parish as a whole. Cllr Hodge describes the importance of this, because of so many services to rural areas being cut:

“As in many rural situations, amenities are being eroded in Hebden. We’ve lost our public toilets, despite being a prominent tourist destination with ample free parking, and we’ve recently lost our Post Office too. Our village shop is at risk of disappearing altogether, and our buses have been reduced. Getting the defibrillator has gone a small way to improving our village facilities amidst all of these disappointing changes.”