AF Blakemore is installing 10 automated external defibrillators in its head office and across seven of its main regional distribution centres.
The defibrillators will be stored on the wall in lockable boxes that can only be opened with a code, which can be obtained by dialling 999.
No training is needed to operate the defibrillator, which delivers an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm in cardiac arrest patients. It will not cause harm if used on a person not in cardiac arrest.
AF Blakemore’s health and safety department will raise awareness of the defibrillators with the help of Abacus Training paramedic Duncan Parsonage, who works to ensure public accessibility to defibrillators.
“NHS paramedic response times are falling short of targets due to increased call volumes and there is a growing likelihood that the ambulance service may not arrive quickly enough to save a patient who has suffered a sudden cardiac arrest,” said Parsonage.
About 90,000 people in the UK die from cardiac arrest in the UK per year. Survival rates can reach 75% when defibrillators are located nearby and quickly applied.
“As a large family business, we have a responsibility to provide access to the most up-to-date life-saving equipment should an emergency ever arise,” said group board director Tom Blakemore.
“A defibrillator is an essential step in the chain of survival when dealing with sudden cardiac arrest, and by making plans to install 10 at our larger sites across the business with higher footfall, we have made sure that staff and visitors to the buildings receive the best possible chance.”