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Life-saving defibrillator installed at Fenland Crematorium

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Equipment that could potentially save the lives of mourners attending funerals in the county has been installed at Fenland Crematorium in March.

Crematorium Manager, Mark Allbut, with the equipment. (12344324)
Crematorium Manager, Mark Allbut, with the equipment. (12344324)

Dignity, the operator of the facility, have raised funds for a defibrillator through their charity partner, 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. This high-energy shock is called defibrillation and is an essential life saving step in the chain of survival. 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.

Mark Allbut, crematorium manager, said: “Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around 10 per cent. We will always call an ambulance but wanted to do everything we possibly can to provide immediate help. Our partnership with British Heart Foundation has enabled us to purchase a defibrillator to be located at the crematorium for use during an emergency.”

British Heart Foundation’s mission is to win the fight against cardiovascular disease and reduce the number of people that die prematurely due to heart conditions.

Dignity appointed 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: “We thank Dignity for their commitment to the community and the money they have raised to fund life-saving research that helps keep more families together. 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 Fenland, another 45 crematoria operated by Dignity will have defibrillators installed by the end of this month. The company are 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.

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