Phone box fitted with defibrillator
Published 15/03/2013 | 15:07
A phone box in Northern Ireland has been transformed into a potential lifesaver after it was fitted with a defibrillator.
The machine diagnoses and treats heart problems and has been installed in a kiosk in Crossgar, Co Down.
It is the first BT payphone in Northern Ireland with the equipment.
GP Dr Nigel Hart said: "Apart from benefiting our own local community we have a lot of visitors to the village. A defibrillator in the centre of the town will be a real asset and could help save lives in the future."
The defibrillator is housed in the kiosk in a high-visibility green vandal-resistant and heated cabinet. It can be opened under instruction from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service by calling 999.
The original idea of using a BT phone box to house a defibrillator came from a collaboration between the Queen's University medical faculty, Dr Hart and the British Red Cross.
Paula Powell, community-based first aid manager for the Red Cross, said: "We would encourage other towns and villages in Northern Ireland to think about their own resilience.
"They may already have defibrillators in the community, but do enough people know how to access and use them? This is an innovative way to enable 24/7 access to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and most importantly of all, to have the local community fully involved and first aid trained."
Two medical students from Queen's also conducted a community research project to establish local appetite for the project.
The local community raised £4,000 to fund it and around 100 local residents and business people took part in community first aid courses organised by the Red Cross.