A MAJOR retailer has boosted its first aid capabilities by signing up to a life-saving project.
Forty defibrillators will be placed in Marks & Spencer stores as part of a project by the region’s ambulance service to install 1,000 in locations across East.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is looking to place all of the new defibrillators by the end of March.
The devices, which can be accessed by a member of staff or the public, are going into schools, libraries, sports centres, village halls, and shops to be used when a person goes into cardiac arrest.
A defibrillator can make a vital difference in the first few minutes before an ambulance crew or responder reaches a patient who isn’t breathing and whose heart has stopped.
Of the 40 automated external defibrillators (AED) going into M&S shops, 12 will go into stores in Hertfordshire, 11 in Essex, seven in Suffolk, five in Cambridgeshire, three in Norfolk and two in Bedfordshire.
An AED is a simple device to use, but training sessions will be provided at the locations that receive one.
Andrew Barlow, a Community Partnership Manager for EEAST, said: “We want to maximise the potential benefit of these defibrillators by placing them in high priority and busy locations, which will help patients before the arrival of a community first responder or front-line ambulance worker.”
“It is great news that M&S has got involved in this ambitious project.
“This investment will help improve coverage in our communities and will undoubtedly help save lives and improve the outcomes for patients when they are called upon.”
Keith Davis, Fire, Health and Safety Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our position at the heart of community high streets and large footfall shopping destinations means that our stores are perfect venues to host defibrillators. They save lives and we know that by having them in our stores across the East of England, they will save a life in an M&S store in the future.
"We’re training our first aiders to use them in our stores and with the support of the East of England Ambulance Service; we are making shopping safer than ever before.”