AN additional 49 easily accessible life-saving defibrillators are being installed at retail locations in communities right across Swansea in the coming months.

Swansea Council is working with the charity Heartbeat Trust UK to increase public access to this vital equipment and to become the UK’s first ‘defib-friendly’ city.

The Council has agreed more than £60,000 in grant funding that will enable the Charity to place and insure defibrillators in locations that have 24-hour access in all 36 council wards.

These will include additional machines in retail locations in the city centre, high streets in communities including Morriston, Clydach, Gorseinon, Pontarddulais and Sketty and outside community shops or pubs in more rural locations such as Gower.

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Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart said:

“This equipment can easily mean the difference between life and death when someone suffers from a medical emergency such as a heart attack and we want to ensure all our residents have as much support as possible.

“There has been an increase in number of accessible defibrillators in Swansea in recent years and the Council will continue to play it’s part in growing the coverage”

Deputy Leader Andrea Lewis, who has driven the initiative, added:

“Heartbeat Trust UK is already doing a fantastic job working with our communities in Swansea.

“This grant will ensure we can get these machines installed all across the city and help save lives. Our ambition is to be Britain’s first defib-friendly city where no-one is far from a defibrillator.

“I’m confident residents in all our communities will welcome this additional support as part of our partnership with Heartbeat Trust UK.”

It is anticipated that all 49 additional machines will be in place within the next few months.

Henry Gilbert, Chair of Heartbeat Trust UK, said:

“We are proud to be partnering with Swansea Council to make this city ‘defib-friendly’ in terms of the strategic placement of defibrillators in all communities, generating greater awareness of their locations and providing CPR / Defibrillator training.

“Out of hospital cardiac arrests is one the top causes of death in the UK.  The timely intervention of CPR and defibrillation can improve the survival rate from less than 3% to as much as 75%.  This initiative will definitely save lives in Swansea.”

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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